Russian chemist says worked on Novichok, despite official denial

Russian chemist says worked on Novichok, despite official denial

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Britain has pointed to the 2006 radiation poisoning of former spy and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in London - blamed on Moscow - and Russian activity in Crimea and Ukraine.

On a visit to Warsaw, Merkel also said she expects European Union leaders to come to "strong conclusions" in the matter at a summit Thursday night in Brussels.

Salisbury (dpo) - Last doubts over Russia's guilt in poisoning former spy Sergei Skripal have been eliminated.

The British military and police are continuing to search for clues around Salisbury into what happened.

With a nod to O.J. Simpson, Putin insists he wants to help catch the real poisoners: "We are ready to cooperate, we said that straightaway, we are ready to take part in the necessary investigations" - provided there is "a desire from the other side".

The former Russian spy and his daughter remain critically ill in hospital after being attacked with nerve agent. She described the attack as an "indiscriminate and reckless act".

Speaking in Brussels alongside British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Monday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia's response had so far "demonstrated a clear disregard for global peace and security".

Jens Stoltenberg said "all 29 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies stand united. We stand in solidarity with the United Kingdom".

The U.K. demanded an explanation from Russian Federation.

The soviet-era nerve agent used in Russia's stunning assassination plot against a former spy was reportedly pumped into the target's vehicle through the air conditioning vents; further signaling the attack was the work of sophisticated, Kremlin-backed agents. Moscow vehemently denies any involvement.

Mrs May is chairing a meeting of the National Security Council. "We continue to call on Russian Federation to provide the complete disclosure of the Novichok program".

While the Kremlin told Britain to back up its assertions or apologise, Britain's fellow European Union members offered it "unqualified solidarity".

"Sooner or later, these unsubstantiated allegations will have to be answered for - either backed up with the appropriate evidence or apologised for", he said. Britain has announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats, and Russia has responded in kind.

Over the weekend, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson accused Moscow of "stockpiling" Novichok, a Soviet invention from the 1970s, while OPCW officials have arrived in Salisbury to investigate the sites where Skripal, 66, was poisoned.

The Russian Foreign Ministry told The Associated Press that the 23 diplomats are expected to leave British territory Tuesday.

Johnson told reporters in Brussels Monday that "Russian denials grow increasingly absurd", with contradictory claims about whether Russia produced the nerve agent Novichok used in the March 4 attack that left Sergei Skripal and his daughter in critical condition.

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