Alwaght- Russian foreign minister said Moscow will ignore UK’s ultimatum on explanation about a Russian-made nerve agent allegedly used to kill a former Russian double agent until his country is provided access to a sample of the substance
British Premier Theresa May gave Russian President Vladimir Putin until midnight on Tuesday to explain how Soviet Union-developed Novichok nerve agent was used to assassinate Sergei Skripal who passed secrets to British intelligence.
Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, have been in hospital in a critical condition since March 4 when they were found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping center in the English cathedral city of Salisbury.
Theresa May told parliament on Monday “Based on the positive identification of this chemical agent by world-leading experts at Porton Down, our knowledge that Russia has previously produced this agent and would still be capable of doing so, Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations, and our assessment that Russia views some defectors as legitimate targets for assassinations, the government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal,”
Responding to Theresa may’s demand Russian foreign mister Sergei Lavrov said "We have certainly heard the ultimatum from London. As soon as the rumours arose that the poisoning of Skripal involved a Russian-produced agent, which are being fanned by the British leadership, we immediately requested a sample in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention".
So far, the UK government has denied Russia access to the nerve agent, he was quoted as saying by Tass News agency.
Russia has repeatedly denied any knowledge of the Skripal case.
The attack also left a policeman in a serious condition and forced authorities to cordon off the area around the restaurant and pub where police suspect the alleged poisoning took place.
Russian ambassador Alexander Yakovenko, summoned to the Foreign Office, was given until the end of Tuesday to explain what happened or face what May said were“much more extensive” measures against the $1.5 trillion Russian economy.
If no satisfactory Russian response is received by midnight London time then May will outline Britain’s response in parliament. She was due to hold a meeting of top security officials on Wednesday.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said that the British response would be “commensurate but robust”.