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Russian Federation vows to expel United Kingdom diplomats

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World       by Dawood Rehman | Published

Officials determined that the two, who remain in critical condition, were attacked with a military-grade nerve agent, and that Russian Federation was probably responsible.

Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "We have said on different levels and occasions that Russian Federation has nothing to do with this story".

"It is tied to USA internal disorder, tied of course to our electoral calendar", Ryabkov was quoted as saying by the Russian state news agency Tass.

"The United Kingdom thoroughly briefed its allies that it was highly likely that Russian Federation was responsible for the attack".

May has said the Skripals were attacked with Novichok, a Soviet-era military-grade nerve agent.

In a joint statement, they demanded Moscow "address all questions" related to the attack against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, which they said amounted to a "breach of worldwide law".

"It threatens the security of us all", the statement read.

President Donald Trump said Thursday "it certainly looks like" Moscow is to blame for the poisoning of a defected Russian spy and his daughter on British soil.

Russia's United Nations ambassador says "the only civilized way" of settling the issue of responsibility for the assassination attempt against a former Russian agent in England is a joint British-Russian investigation.

"The head of a nuclear state goes to the Parliament. they take an important step that they can't take". They just are detached from their reality, which is very risky. "We hope that the worldwide community will cooperate in order to avoid such further events".

"There is no alternative conclusion, other than that the Russian state was culpable for the attempted murder of Mr Skripal and his daughter, and for threatening the lives of other British citizens in Salisbury, including Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey". "I think the response so far has been calibrated too far on the risk- aversion side".

The criticism came on Thursday in a rare joint statement by British Prime Minister Theresa May, US President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, who ran the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, has been targeted by the USA sanctions along with 12 of the agency's employees.

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Britain is also trying to build a unified Western response, saying the attack in Salisbury is just the latest example of Russia's disregard for the rule of law.

And in his first major speech - unveiling plans for a new chemical weapons "defence centre" in Porton Down - Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said there was "no doubt the attack came from Russia".

"This latest action by Russian Federation fits into a pattern of behavior in which Russian Federation disregards the global rules-based order, undermines the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and attempts to subvert and discredit Western democratic institutions and processes", Sanders said.

The four-nation statement is the fruit of British efforts to enlist global support as it tries to hold Russia accountable for the March 4 attack that left the former Russian agent and his daughter in critical condition and a British police officer seriously ill.

The statement said the government could take further measures if Britain takes any more "unfriendly" moves toward Russian Federation.

The UK on Wednesday expelled 23 Russian diplomats in connection with the issue.

Trump added that he was in "deep discussions" with British Prime Minister Theresa May over how to respond to the attack on Sergei Skripal, an ex-spy, and his daughter in Salisbury last week.

White House Press secretary Sarah Sanders earlier in a statement to the ABC on Friday said to agree with United Kingdom that Russian Federation was behind the nerve agent attack and is working with allies "to ensure that this kind of abhorrent attack does not happen again".

Nauert - who was elevated to acting undersecretary after the firing of Steve Goldstein, himself collateral damage of the Tillerson dismissal - went on to say, "This latest action by Russian Federation fits into a pattern of behavior in which Russian Federation disregards the global rules-based order, undermines the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and attempts to subvert and discredit Western democratic institutions and processes".

Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, repeated Moscow's denial that it had anything to do with the poisoning and called for proof of its involvement.

Russia's Defence Ministry said he was an "intellectual impotent" and Mr Lavrov said he probably lacked education.

The crisis comes as Russian Federation prepares for a presidential election on Sunday in which Vladimir Putin is expected to easily win a fourth term.

But the alliance is engaged, Stoltenberg said.

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