Russian Federation responsible for attack on ex-spy: May


In a state-of-the-nation speech earlier this month, Putin said Russian Federation has tested an array of new nuclear weapons that are impossible to intercept. No 10 declined to give details of what they described as a "private conversation".

He went on to accuse Britain of creating "a hysterical atmosphere" following the announcement by United Kingdom prime minister Theresa May that 23 suspected Russian intelligence agents operating out of the London embassy were to be expelled from the country. The diplomats to be expelled were identified as "undeclared intelligence officers".

The growing diplomatic scandal over the poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain will not disrupt Russia's presidential campaign, Vladimir Putin's spokesman has said.

Earlier this week, UK Premier Theresa May said it was "highly likely" Russian Federation was responsible for the attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

They remain in critical condition in a hospital in Salisbury, southwestern England, after being found unconscious March 4.

SHAPIRO: How did the prime minister justify the expulsion of the 23 Russian diplomats?

"Let me make one thing clear from the very beginning: the United States stands in absolute solidarity with Great Britain", Haley said. "This is a defining moment", she continued. The common-defence provision invoked after the 9-11 attacks in invading Afghanistan would be highly risky in this case, said Stephen Saideman of Carleton University's Paterson School of International Affairs.

"Dine at the Russian Embassy", read the white graffiti stenciled onto the pavement near the Russian embassy in London. Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko called Britain's actions were "a provocation".

"There will be a response, I assure you", Lavrov said at the forum, titled "Russia - Land of Opportunity", adding that Russia would inform the United Kingdom first before announcing it.

A British inquiry said Putin had probably approved the murder of Litvinenko, though Russian Federation denied any involvement.

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Opponents of President Vladimir Putin used graffiti on Thursday to take an ironic swipe at Russian Federation over the nerve toxin attack on a former double agent. She didn't expel Russia's ambassador or announce sanctions against any individuals or companies.

May had given Moscow until midnight Tuesday to explain whether the attack was directed by Russian authorities or whether the government had lost control of the nerve agent.

"There does not seem to be any real appetite so far to investigate the ill-gotten gains of the Russian elite that have been laundered through London", said John Lough, an associate fellow in the Eurasia program at the Chatham House think-tank.

Russian Federation has denied responsibility in the March 4 attack on the Skripals.

The source of the nerve agent used - which Britain says is Soviet-made Novichok - is unclear. It will be much harder to shrug off worldwide outrage over the use of a chemical agent in a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally. Ella Pamfilova was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying, "It is in our interest that everything works". Damascus uses chemical weapons, Russian Federation supports it.

"The countermeasures announced by the Prime Minister are not exclusively about the attack in Salisbury".

But Britain faces an uphill battle in rallying worldwide backing for any new measures against Moscow.

Tusk confirmed that he was ready to put the issue on the agenda for the regular March 22-23 summit in Brussels, although European Union officials said May had yet to request that.

Russian Federation clashed overnight with the U.K. and United States at the U.N. Security Council.

Russian authorities have vigorously denied any knowledge of the incident, demanding Prime Minister Theresa May submit evidence of the attack to an worldwide body for further investigation.

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