Russian Federation summons British ambassador as it readies to expel diplomats

Russia, which denied any involvement, said it was not responding to May's ultimatum until it received samples of the nerve agent, in effect challenging Britain to show what sanctions it would impose against Russian interests.

Following the Salisbury incident, the British government has also pledged to re-examine 14 deaths on United Kingdom soil following a report that they could have been carried out by Moscow or the Russian mafia.

They are working on the theory that Miss Skripal was deliberately targeted to get at her father.

In her first visit to Salisbury, where she also met a police officer injured in the incident, British Prime Minister Theresa May said it was important to send a "united" response.

Russian Federation has said it will reply in kind.

The move followed Britain's decision on Thursday to expel 23 Russian diplomats over the attack in the English city of Salisbury which left former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, critically ill in hospital.

The UN ambassador told a meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday the US agrees with British officials that a Russian defector and his daughter were likely poisoned by Russian agents in Salisbury, England, last week.

Putin, who casts himself as a strong leader able to stand up to a hostile West, is poised to win a fourth term in power on Sunday in Russia's presidential election.

Further sanctions have been suggested by Labour MP Stephen Kinnock over the 2018 World Cup, which Russian Federation is set to host this summer.

Britain has sought support from allies in the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, including the United States.

European Union leaders are to discuss the incident at a Brussels summit next week and it is also on the agenda for talks on Monday between Johnson, his European Union counterparts and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. President Donald Trump and the leaders of France and Germany joined British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday to directly pin blame for the attack on Russian Federation.

Russian Federation is yet to formally retaliate to Prime Minister Theresa May's expulsion of the diplomats.

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Russia's envoy to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons told The AP that his country has no stocks of the Novichok group of nerve agents, insisting that Soviet-era research into the agents was totally dismantled before Russian Federation joined the organization.

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz on Monday said Warsaw was "in favour of taking action, including sanctions".

Most locals who have spoken to reporters have welcomed her tough stance against Russian Federation in the affair but some worry about the effect on tourism and possible lingering health dangers.

Mr Johnson's comments came as Russian Federation was only just responding to the assertion from the Foreign Secretary's colleague, the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, that Russian Federation should "go away... it should shut up".

Wilson repeated assertions by the British government that Russian Federation was "implicated" in the attack and demanded that Moscow now declare its undisclosed program.

  • Carolyn Briggs