Kremlin furious as Britain links Putin to ex-spy attack

In retaliation to Britain expelling 23 Russian diplomats from the UK, Russia expels 23 diplomats from Britain. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has vowed a response "very soon".

The Russian foreign ministry said it was taking the measures in response to what it called the U.K.'s "provocative actions and unfounded accusations" over the poisoning case.

Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found slumped unconscious on a bench outside a shopping centre in the genteel southern English city of Salisbury on March 4.

"We call on Russian Federation to address all questions related to the attack in Salisbury".

"Russia's likely involvement in this is also absolutely unacceptable and needs to be condemned in the strongest terms".

The statement comes a day after UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced the largest expulsion of Russian diplomats from the UK since the Cold War over the alleged "attack" on a former Russian intelligence officer, Sergei Skripal.

Russian Federation says it has destroyed all its chemical weapons and shut down its military chemical programme in the mid-1980s.

Britain's foreign minister increased pressure on Russian Federation over the poisoning case of one of Moscow's ex-spies by claiming it was "overwhelmingly likely" President Vladimir Putin directly ordered the attack.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that he would announce unspecified "measures" in the coming days over the poisoning of a Russian former double agent in Britain.

The White House said it shared Britain's assessment that Russia was responsible and supported the decision to expel Russian diplomats.

A report on Walla News said that the United Kingdom ambassador to Israel had met with National Security Council head, Meir Ben-Shabbat, and asked him to urge Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to personally join the worldwide condemnation.

Russian Federation has demanded that Britain share samples collected by investigators.

He said Russia's recent provocations need a tough response, including action against Russian oligarchs with questionable ties who have used London as a safe haven.

At home, the British government has been under pressure from lawmakers and media to show it is getting tough on Russian Federation, with some experts saying that despite the rhetoric the response did not go far enough to bother Putin.

Separately, the U.S. has announced sanctions against Russian individuals and entities accused of trying to influence the 2016 election and carrying out cyber-attacks. "They are now being worked on and will be adopted in the near future", Ms Zakharova said. He said Britain could count on NATO's solidarity, but said there had been no request by London to activate the alliance's mutual defence clause.

He said nerve agents like Novichok are usually highly unstable and degrade quickly in the presence of moisture, but that if the agent was sealed in a tight container "it ought to be able to hang around".

  • Joey Payne