Russian Federation responds with veiled nuclear, death threats to United Kingdom nerve agent attack

Britain and Russia brace for showdown over nerve attack on ex-spy

Geopolitical tensions are mounting since the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury earlier this month, in what Western powers see as the latest sign of increasingly aggressive Russian meddling overseas.

Russia is also planning a response to the USA after Donald Trump's administration imposed sanctions on Russians allegedly involved in interfering with the 2016 U.S. elections and cyber-attacks.

Palmer says Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has vowed Russia will soon expel British diplomats in a tit-for-tat retaliation for Britain's expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats - all identified as "undeclared" intelligence agents - who have been told to leave the United Kingdom within a week. "It certainly looks like the Russians were behind it", he told reporters in the Oval Office.

The Government's blame of Russian Federation for the attack on the former double agent has been supported by the US, France and Germany.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Britain could count on NATO's solidarity, but that it had not invoked the alliance's mutual defence clause.

The prime minister says other measures will follow, including a British boycott of the World Cup in Russian Federation this summer.

Military chiefs warned there is a "real risk" of war with Russian Federation over the latest tensions, when speaking to Daily Star Online.

Yakovenko said that under the Vienna Convention, Russia should be granted consular access to its citizens, adding: "Basically, Britain doesn't respect global law and the way they are behaving puts a lot of questions".

The Kremlin said on Friday that British accusations that President Vladimir Putin was involved in a nerve agent attack in England were shocking and unforgivable, TASS news agency reported.

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He also said 46 people have attended hospital expressing concerns since the incident, and that cordons around areas where traces of the nerve agent have been found or could yet be found may remain in place for months.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warned Moscow will expel British diplomats "soon" and suggested that the "provocation with Skripal" was an attempt to distract attention from the Brexit process.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said May's statements were "completely insane accusations", and accused Britain of failing to work with Moscow through the OPCW.

"I want to state with all possible certainty that the Soviet Union or Russian Federation had no programmes to develop a toxic agent called Novichok", he told Interfax news agency.

An 83-year-old Russian whistleblower who helped develop Novichok said in an interview published Friday that a few countries in the world have laboratories powerful enough to develop the nerve agent thanks to a formula he published in 2008. In its blatant Russian-ness, the nerve agent sends a signal to all who may be thinking of dissent in the intensifying repression of Putin's Russia.

The allies said in a joint statement that Russia's failure to respond to Britain's "legitimate request" for an explanation "further underlines its responsibility".

Ryabkov said he doesn't want to definitively close the door to dialogue and accused the US of threatening global stability.

But deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow never had any such programme.

Lavrov said Russian Federation will "of course" expel British diplomats and that he hopes the Skripals recover soon so light can be shed on what happened.

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