Russian retaliation: Moscow will expel British diplomats

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A BBC journalist confronted Vladimir Putin about the poisoning of Sergei Skripal - and he received a brutal response from the Russian president.

The Prime Minister said on Monday that the incident was "either a direct act by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others".

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said she believed Russian Federation was responsible for an alleged nerve agent attack on two people in Salisbury, England.

Britain, the United States, Germany and France jointly called on Russian Federation on Thursday to explain the attack.

Russian Federation denies being the source of the nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals and has demanded Britain share samples collected by investigators. Russian election officials described the move a violation of global law.

On Thursday, Lavrov had a different estimation of what's behind the friction between Russian Federation, the US and Britain, citing what he called the "categorical reluctance of the United States and its western allies to agree that the 500-year-long period of Western domination in world affairs is coming to an end".

US President Donald Trump also weighed in Thursday, telling reporters: "It certainly looks like the Russians were behind it".

Russian Federation denies any involvement and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused London of behaving in a "boorish" way, adding that this was partly due to the problems Britain faces over its planned exit from the European Union next year.

A spokesman for Vladimir Putin described the UK's accusations as "unfounded" and said "it won't be long until" the Russian President makes a decision on retaliatory measures.

The president said he had been in contact with British Prime Minister Theresa May about the incident and said the U.S. was taking it "very seriously".

Johnson defended Britain's response and suggested that there could be further consequences for Russians close to Putin.

"The British keep hiding the medical assessment from us, we do not have access to the patients, we do not have a chance to talk to the doctors", RIA quoted the ambassador as saying.

"They are trying to rely on political rhetoric, on Russophobia in the hope that the entire Western world lines up behind them", he said.

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Glushkov, 68, was discovered dead on Monday in south-west London.

Novichok, which means newcomer in Russian, was developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s as a chemical weapon that would be more powerful, harder to detect and exempt from the Chemical Weapons Treaty.

A British judge in 2014 said he could not be sure if Berezovsky killed himself or was the victim of foul play.

"There is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian state was culpable for the attempted murder of Mr. Skripal and his daughter, and for threatening the lives of other British citizens in Salisbury", said May.

They also offered to cooperate with British authorities.

Britain has sought support from allies in the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, including the USA, in response to the use of an illegal chemical weapon on British soil.

The two governments have been locked in a war of words since Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found slumped on a park bench in the English city of Salisbury on March 4. They remain in critical condition in a hospital.

In Yulia Skripal's suitcase: Ms Skripal returned from a visit to her native country the day before the attack, and intelligence chiefs believe an item of clothing, cosmetics or a gift may have been laced with the poison, the Telegraph reported.

Johnson said the attack was a way for Putin to send a message to anyone considering taking a stand against it that "You do that, you are going to die".

"Our quarrel is with Putin's Kremlin, and with his decision - and we think it overwhelmingly likely that it was his decision - to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the United Kingdom".

Putin nearly smirked at the reporter as he considered his answer.

British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson sparked particular outrage in Moscow with his blunt comment on Thursday that "Russia should go away, it should shut up".

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has stressed that Russian Federation is ready to cooperate on the probe but needed to look at a sample of the substance in question. Williamson studied social science at the University of Bradford.

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