Britain accuses Russian Federation of secretly stockpiling deadly nerve agent used in attack

Russia expels 23 British diplomats

Britain has said Russian Federation used the Soviet-era nerve agent called Novichok to attack Serge i Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the first known offensive use of such a weapon on European soil since World War Two.

Johnson said technical experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will travel to Britain on Monday and will test samples of the substance used in the Salisbury poisoning in an worldwide laboratory.

Britain says it is Novichok, a class of powerful nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union toward the end of the Cold War.

Johnson's comments on March 18 came one day ahead of planned visit to Britain by global chemical weapons experts who will probe the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who were left critically ill on March 4 from a nerve toxin in the southern English city of Salisbury. Even today, no country outside Russian Federation is known to have developed the substance.

"Russia has stopped production of any chemical agents back in 1992", he told Marr, the day after Moscow expelled 23 British diplomats in a tit-for-tat measure.

Russia's ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, told RT on Friday that the UK is using the Skripal case to divert attention from Brexit issues.

But when asked whether Porton Down was responsible for the attack on the Skripals, Chizhov said, "I don't know, I don't have evidence of anything being used".

"The British keep hiding the medical assessment from us, we do not have access to the patients, we do not have a chance to talk to the doctors", RIA quoted the ambassador as saying. It says they are stored securely and disposed of safely when no longer required. He added that "if you appeal to this organization, you must comply with the provisions of the convention that stipulate filing a request to us, because we are suspected of being a country of origin and even the country which had used this poisoning agent, and, providing us with samples of this agent, so we, together with OPCW experts, can analyze it". "Or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others", May said.

"But Russia's response doesn't change the facts of the matter", she said at the Conservative Spring Forum in London.

"We gave the Russians every opportunity to come up with an alternative hypothesis, such as the one that you have just described, and they haven't".

"Their response has been a mix of smug sarcasm and denial and obfuscation", he said.

Putin said he was ready to cooperate with the British authorities in investigating the attack. On Sunday, Johnson wrote that Britain is not alone in facing Russia's "reckless behavior". May on Wednesday expelled 23 Russian diplomats, severed high-level contacts with Moscow and vowed both open and covert actions following the attack.

Russia's Foreign Ministry also said it is closing the British Consulate General in St. Petersburg and the British Council in Russian Federation, a cultural institute, due to what it called "groundless accusations" by Britain. The British Council is a cultural institute with artistic, language and educational programs.

While Johnson said that London would allow the worldwide OPCW experts in The Hague to review the British analysis of the sample, the United Kingdom refuses to enact the mechanism in the OPCW that calls for a thorough investigation, the Russian FM noted.

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