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1ST LEAD Russia points finger at Britain for nerve agent attack on ex-spy By Peter Spinella, dpa

Europe
28.03.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Moscow (dpa) - Russia‘s Foreign Ministry suggested on Wednesday that the British state conducted a chemical weapon attack on a former Russian spy turned double agent in southern England earlier this month.

The attack has devastated the already tense relationship between Russia and the West, with more than 20 Western countries announcing this week that they would expel Russian diplomats.

"An analysis of all the circumstances reveals a disinterest by the British authorities in finding out the true motives and the perpetrators of the crime," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

This "leads us to the idea of possible involvement in it [the crime] by British special services," it added.

The former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia are in hospital in critical but stable condition. They were found unconscious on a bench in the English city of Salisbury in early March.

"British authorities have systematically demonstrated an inability to ensure the safety of Russian citizens on their [British] territory," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"Blatant examples of this include the poisoning of former Russian FSB employee A. Litvinenko, the death amid unexplained circumstances of Russian businessmen B. Patarkatsishvili and A. Perepilichny, the mysterious ‘suicide‘ of B. Berezovsky and the strangling of his business partner N. Glushkov, and finally the attempt on the life and health of S. Skripal and Y. Skripal," the statement said.

British authorities have said the Skripals were attacked with a Russian-developed nerve toxin identified as Novichok.

A Russian court convicted the elder Skripal of selling Russian state secrets to Britain in 2006. He was traded to Britain in a high-profile spy swap four years later.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Luxembourg announced that it was recalling its ambassador to Russia for consultations amid the Skripal affair.

The West‘s coordinated expulsion of Russian diplomats over the attack in Britain could lead to a "Cold War situation," Russia‘s ambassador to Australia warned.

Grigory Logvinov, the Russian ambassador to Canberra, told reporters on Wednesday there was a conspiracy between Western nations to discredit Russia, which started when the country became more independent after the 1990s.

"If the West would follow this line, I‘m afraid we will be deeply in a Cold War situation," Logvinov said.

The two intelligence officers Australia said it would expel on Tuesday were "absolutely legal, career diplomats," he added.

 

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