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Britain wants 'proportionate' response to Russian Federation after spy poisoning


Speaking to Sky News on Tuesday, Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of Porton Down laboratory said the poisonous substance used to carry out the attack was the military-grade nerve agent Novichok but said scientists did not identify where it was manufactured.

He said that the creation of the Novichok agent would have required "extremely sophisticated" methods likely only to be available to a state actor. "We're reviewing our options", said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, who charged that the attack on the Skripals violated an worldwide chemical weapons ban.

He noted that Porton Down was responsible for identifying the nerve agent and providing scientific information to the government, but not for concluding where the poison was made.

The OPCW said Russian Federation had asked for the meeting but London has already accused Moscow of requesting the OPCW talks as a "diversionary tactic". Police said they had been exposed to a nerve agent.

Lavrov said Monday that Russian Federation had requested the OPCW meeting to discuss the case and asked it to provide details of its cooperation with Britain in the poisoning probe.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia were poisoned with a nerve agent at his home.

US President Donald Trump defended his embrace of Vladimir Putin Tuesday, saying good relations were important but claiming no one had been tougher on Russian Federation.

Putin reaffirmed that Russia wanted to take part in the investigation, noting that the victims of the poisoning - Skripal and his daughter Yulia - were both Russian nationals.

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Putin said he was astonished at how rapidly the anti-Russian campaign has been whipped up on the backdrop of the Skripal case.

His comments come a day before an extraordinary meeting - called by Russian Federation - with the world's chemical weapons watchdog, the executive council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denounced the British accusations on Monday as a "mad and disgusting provocation".

So far, 29 countries, including Ireland, have expelled Russian diplomats in response to the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, England on March 4. "It certainly isn't anything that came from our facility", he said.

He said: "Worse than the Cold War is a real war".

Chizhov says "Russia clearly had no motive" to attack Skripal, who was convicted of spying for Britain but freed in a 2010 spy swap.

The Trump administration's decision followed the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from the U.K. Russia responded to those expulsions by kicking an equal number of British officials out of Russia.

Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence agent convicted of spying for Britain, and his daughter were found unconscious and critically ill in the English cathedral city of Salisbury a month ago.

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