Rus­sia dis­misses role in poi­son­ing

Moscow says it will co­op­er­ate only if given sam­ples of nerve agent

The Dallas Morning News - - Nation & World -

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

Po­lice, mean­while, said that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of who poi­soned Sergei Skri­pal and his daugh­ter, Yu­lia, will last many weeks and that they were not ready to iden­tify any per­sons of in­ter­est in the in­quiry. The fa­ther and daugh­ter re­mained 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 was re­view­ing a range of eco­nomic and di­plo­matic mea­sures in re­tal­i­a­tion for the as­sault with what she iden­ti­fied as the mil­i­tary-grade nerve agent Novi­chok.

Her Down­ing Street of­fice said that 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.”

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

“We have al­ready made a state­ment to say this is non­sense,” he said. “We have noth­ing to do with this.”

In another devel­op­ment Tues­day, Bri­tish coun­tert­er­ror­ism po­lice took charge of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the death in Lon­don of a Rus­sian busi­ness­man with ties to a prom­i­nent Krem­lin foe.

Po­lice said there was no ev­i­dence to sug­gest the death of Niko­lai Glushkov was linked to the March 4 poi­son­ing of Skri­pal and his daugh­ter.

Glushkov’s lawyer, An­drei Borovkov, said in Moscow that Glushkov had died but that he was un­aware of the time and cir­cum­stances. Bri­tish and Rus­sian me­dia re­ports said that Glushkov was found dead at his home.

Glushkov was an as­so­ciate of Boris Bere­zovsky, a Rus­sian oli­garch and Krem­lin critic who died in Lon­don in 2013.

Glushkov told The Guardian news­pa­per in 2013 that he didn’t be­lieve Bere­zovsky’s death was sui­cide. “I’m def­i­nite Boris was killed,” he said.

In light of the at­tack on Skri­pal, the Bri­tish govern­ment said po­lice will look again at the deaths of more than a dozen Rus­sians, in­clud­ing Bere­zovsky.

Christo­pher Furlong/getty Im­ages

In­ves­ti­ga­tors in foren­sics suits and pro­tec­tive masks worked at the scene Tues­day of the poi­son­ing of former Rus­sian spy Sergei Skri­pal and his daugh­ter.

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