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Boris Johnson claims Russian Federation is stockpiling substance used in Skripal attack
19 March 2018, 01:19 | Clyde Nash
The western plot is a perfect chance to discredit Putin ahead of elections it has been suggested
Credit AFP ALEXEI NIKOLSKY
The poisoning prompted Britain to announce the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats, with Moscow saying it would reciprocate by expelling the same number of British diplomats. The British Council is a cultural institute with artistic, language and educational programs.
Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia would have died instantly if they had been attacked with a nerve-agent, the leader claimed while he celebrated the start of another six year term.
"There is something in the kind of smug, sarcastic response that we've heard from the Russians that to me betokens their fundamental guilt", he told the BBC.
But Mr Skripal, 66, the Russian ex-spy who was the target of the attack, and his daughter Yulia, 33, remain critical but stable in hospital.
The Russian Embassy in London provoked more anger.
The identification of Novichok as the weapon has become the linchpin of the British case for Russia's culpability in the poisoning.
"If the latter, a connection to Russian mafia-like groups that have been allowed to gain a toehold in Britain can not be excluded", he said.
He added: We have destroyed all our chemical weapons under global oversight unlike some of our partners.
In a statement the Foreign Office said: "As the Foreign Secretary noted this morning, we have been encouraged by the global support we have received to date".
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The Foreign Office said that there was no meaningful response.
The ministry said that if Russian Federation has been stockpiling nerve agents this would amount to a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, of which Moscow is a signatory.
"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.
"We actually have evidence within the last 10 years that Russian Federation has not only been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination, but has also been creating and stockpiling Novichok", Johnson told the BBC. "The position of the British side seems absolutely irresponsible to us", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
"We don't have any improvements, everything is only getting worse", she said. "Any reference or mentioning of our President is nothing else but shocking and unpardonable diplomatic misconduct".
A post-mortem exam on the Russian exile, who had links to compatriots who died in mysterious circumstances in the United Kingdom, "gave the cause of death as compression to the neck", a police statement said.
The Metropolitan Police are treating the attack as attempted murder.
Writing in the Guardian he warned against a "new Cold War" of "escalating arms spending, proxy conflicts across the globe and a McCarthyite intolerance of dissent".
The attack in Salisbury has drawn comparisons to the 2006 death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko after he drank radioactive tea. The Kremlin has always denied the accusation. Before the exchange, he was serving 13 years in prison for leaking information to British intelligence.
Johnson said the government was considering something similar to the US "Magnitsky Act" which was adopted in 2012 to punish Russian officials accused of human rights violations.
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