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Britain must prove Russia’s hand in spy poisoning, says Kremlin

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Presidential candidate, President Vladimir Putin speaks as he meets with confidants at his campaign headquarters in Moscow on March 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Yuri KADOBNOV

Vladimir Putin rejects as ‘nonsense’ allegations by London

Moscow : Britain must prove Russia’s involvement in the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in the UK or apologise, the Kremlin said on Monday.

  “Sooner or later these unsubstantiated allegations will have to be answered for: either backed up with the appropriate evidence or apologised for,” presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Peskov was responding to a question about whether the exacerbation of tensions with the West had boosted Putin’s performance in Russia’s presidential elections Sunday.


  “I wouldn’t use the phrase ‘exacerbation of tensions with the West’. It’s a question of this stream of slander, that is hard to explain and difficult to understand the motivation for, from the British side towards Russia,” he said. Putin on Monday rejected as “nonsense” allegations by London and its allies that Russia was behind the March 4 attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury. In response British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Moscow’s denials were becoming “increasingly absurd” .

EU condemns spy hit as Britain slams ‘absurd’ Russia denials

Brussels: The European Union on Monday condemned the poisoning in Britain of a former Russian spy, and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson described Moscow’s claims that it is not responsible for the attack as absurd. “The lives of many citizens were threatened by this reckless and illegal act,” EU foreign ministers said in Brussels, where they were briefed by Johnson on the latest developments surrounding the March 4 poisoning in Salisbury that left Sergei Skripal and his daughter in critical condition.

Poisoning denials are growing increasingly absurd: UK’s Johnson

Brussels : Moscow’s denials over its involvement in the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain are growing “increasingly absurd”, British foreign minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.

The Kremlin has rejected allegations by London and its allies that Russia was behind the March 4 attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury as “nonsense”. As international chemical weapons experts were due to arrive in Britain to investigate the incident, European Union foreign ministers voiced their support for Britain as they gathered for a meeting in Brussels on Monday, reports AFP.

“The Russian denials grow increasingly absurd,” Johnson said as he arrived for the meeting. “This is a classic Russian strategy of trying to conceal the needle of truth in a haystack of lies and obfuscation.” London says the Soviet-designed military grade nerve agent Novichok was used to target Skripal and on Thursday Britain, France, Germany and the United States issued a joint statement blaming Russia for the first offensive use of chemical weapons in Europe since World War 2. “What really strikes me, talking to European friends and partners on Monday, is that 12 years after the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko in London, they’re not fooling anybody any more,” Johnson said.

“There is scarcely a country round the table here in Brussels that has not been affected in recent years by some kind of malign or disruptive Russian behaviour.”

Russian dissident Litvinenko was poisoned with radioactive agent polonium in London in 2006 in an attack Britain also blamed on the Kremlin.

Johnson will update his European counterparts on the investigation, but Monday’s meeting is not expected to agree any measures targeting Russia, which is already under heavy EU sanctions over its annexation of Crimea and meddling in Ukraine.               The EU’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc stood in “full solidarity” with Britain over the incident, which she called “completely unacceptable”.   EU leaders are also set to discuss the issue at a summit in Brussels on Thursday. Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats and suspended high-level contacts, including announcing that British royals and ministers would boycott this summer’s football World Cup in Russia.

Moscow has expelled 23 British diplomats in a tit-for-tat measure and said it would halt the activities of the British Council in Russia.