Russian Federation had no role in spy poisoning

James O'Brien in the LBC studio

James O'Brien in the LBC studio

Britain's foreign secretary accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of personally ordering a nerve agent attack in Britain, ratcheting up tensions Friday in an increasingly global showdown over alleged Russian meddling overseas.

Answering questions from citizens in a 2010 phone-in program, Putin praised intelligence officers as "people who lay their whole lives on the altar of the Fatherland" and denounced those who betrayed this mission as "pigs" whose fate would be so miserable that they would "regret a thousand times" their treachery.

Pompeo also raised eyebrows earlier this year by meeting senior Russian security officials in Washington days before the Trump administration declined to impose new sanctions on Moscow over the election interference. The tensions threaten to overshadow Putin's expected re-election Sunday for another six-year presidential term.

On Thursday, British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said Moscow had made a "deliberate political decision" to poison Skripal. Her father has British citizenship. The two remain in critical condition in a hospital.

He said, " London has nothing substantial to show, and all its loud accusations are nothing but fiction and another instance of the dirty information war being waged on Russian Federation.

But to the West, they are raising similar concerns. Lavrov says Russian Federation will kick out British diplomats in a worsening standoff over a nerve agent attack, but still isn't saying when or how many.

Top EU diplomats were expected to discuss next steps at a meeting Monday, with some calling for a boycott of the upcoming World Cup in Russian Federation.

The UK on Wednesday expelled 23 Russian diplomats in connection with the issue.

"We have never encountered this level of discussion on the global stage", Peskov told reporters.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that the allegations were unacceptable and that British diplomats would be expelled, Russia's RIA news agency reported.

Meanwhile, Trump's silence on the matter since he briefly acknowledged the chemical attack Tuesday has been deafening to former United States diplomats, many of whom wonder why the U.S. hasn't been steadfast since the beginning in backing its closest global ally on the matter.

Alexander Yakovenko said today that Russian Federation would exert maximum pressure on London in a standoff over the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal.

Of the British measures it said: "Our response will not be long in coming".

Just as Britain did earlier to Russia's ambassador in London, the Kremlin on Tuesday summoned the British ambassador to Moscow to demand an explanation.

Some in Russian Federation have suggested that the nerve agent could have come from another former Soviet country. "Our western partners' reaction to this is very painful", he said.

Russian equities retreated the most in the world and the ruble slid as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May ordered the expulsion of diplomats in response to a chemical weapon attack against a former spy on British soil.

Speaking to the AP, he called it unlikely that some of the nerve agent could have gone missing in the years after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

British authorities said they were poisoned with Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed in Russian Federation.

A Russian expert says Britain is taking the wrong approach to the poisoning of a former Russian spy.

Vil Mirzayanov, who now lives in New Jersey, said that if the substance is Novichok, as Britain claims, it's "100 percent" clear it came from Russian Federation.

His spokesman said "there is a history in relation to weapons of mass destruction and intelligence which is problematic, to put it mildly" and said the right approach was to follow global treaties on chemical weapons.

Haley called the crisis a "defining moment" for the U.N. and said the United States was solidly behind Britain.

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