Rus­sia calls Bri­tain’s poi­son­ing al­le­ga­tions ‘non­sense’

The Columbus Dispatch - - Nation&world -

LON­DON — Rus­sia on Tues­day dis­missed ac­cu­sa­tions of any in­volve­ment in the poi­son­ing of an ex- spy and his daugh­ter as “non­sense,” say­ing it will only co­op­er­ate with a Bri­tish in­ves­ti­ga­tion if it re­ceives sam­ples of the nerve agent be­lieved to have been used.

Po­lice, mean­while, said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of who poi­soned Sergei Skri­pal and his daugh­ter, Yu­lia, will last many weeks and that they are not ready to iden­tify any per­sons of in­ter­est in the in­quiry. The fa­ther and daugh­ter re­main in crit­i­cal con­di­tion in a Sal­is­bury hospi­tal.

Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May said Rus­sia’s in­volve­ment is “highly likely,” and she gave the coun­try a dead­line of mid­night Tues­day to ex­plain its ac­tions in the case. She is re­view­ing a range of eco­nomic and di­plo­matic mea­sures in re­tal­i­a­tion for the as­sault with what she iden­ti­fied as the mil­i­tary- grade nerve agent Novi­chok.

U. S. and Euro­pean of­fi­cials were quick to of­fer words of sup­port for Bri­tain, which will need the back­ing of its al­lies if any new sanc­tions are to have any im­pact.

Her Down­ing Street of­fice said she dis­cussed the Sal­is­bury in­ci­dent with U. S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, and that the U. S. was “with the U. K. all the way” in agree­ing that Rus­sia “must pro­vide un­am­bigu­ous answers as to how this nerve agent came to be used.”

They also agreed on the need for “con­se­quences” for those who use “heinous weapons in fla­grant vi­o­la­tion of in­ter­na­tional norms,” the White House said.

Ear­lier, Trump had said: “It sounds to me that they be­lieve it was Rus­sia, and I would cer­tainly take that find­ing as fact.”

Rus­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Sergey Lavrov said his coun­try’s re­quests to see sam­ples of the nerve agent had been turned down. He in­sisted Rus­sia is “not to blame” for the poi­son­ing.

The Rus­sian Em­bassy in Lon­don tweeted that it will not re­spond to the ul­ti­ma­tum with­out the sam­ples.

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