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1ST LEAD Lavrov: 'Russia is not guilty' in poisoning of ex-spy in Britain By Bill Smith and Peter Spinella, dpa

Europe
13.03.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Moscow (dpa) - "Russia is not guilty" in the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday in comments carried by the Interfax news agency.

"We have already stated that this is nonsense. We have had no involvement," Lavrov told reporters.

Russia has requested samples of the toxin and is ready to cooperate with the investigation, the top diplomat said.

Britain has said it is almost certain that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, who were found unconscious on a bench in the English town of Salisbury earlier this month.

The two are fighting for their lives in hospital after being exposed to what Britain says was a toxic nerve agent developed by Russia.

Britain‘s top-level Cobra emergency committee was set to meet Tuesday to discuss the poisoning. The meeting was to be the second in four days and chaired by Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who said at the weekend that more than 250 officers from Britain‘s counterterrorism units were investigating the incident.

Washington has agreed with London that Moscow was "likely responsible" for the attack and must face "serious consequences," US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement on Monday.

The top US diplomat said he had spoken to British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Monday and that the US stood "in solidarity with our allies in the United Kingdom."

British Prime Minister Theresa May had earlier told parliament in London that experts had confirmed that the poison used on Skripal and his daughter was a "military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia."

May said Russia‘s ambassador had been summoned to give an explanation for the presence of the nerve agent in Britain and had until the end of Tuesday to give a "credible response."

Her government would "consider in detail the response from the Russian state" on Wednesday, she said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, in comments carried by state news agency TASS, that Britain‘s parliament was conducting a "circus show."

 

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