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Theresa May accuses Russia of involvement in ex-officer Skripal poisoning

British Prime Minister Theresa May says it is "highly likely" that Russia is responsible for the poisoning of former intelligence Colonel Sergey Skripal and his daughter
UK Prime Minister Theresa May EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER
UK Prime Minister Theresa May

LONDON, March 12./TASS/.  British Prime Minister Theresa May has said it is "highly likely" that Russia is responsible for the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence Colonel Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

"It is now clear that Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. This is part of a group of nerve agents known as ‘Novichok’," the prime minister said in a statement to MP’s.

"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," Theresa May said in her statement to the House of Commons.

The prime minister described the incident with Skripal as Russia’s "indiscriminate" and "reckless" attack against the UK.

Theresa May said British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson summoned Russia's ambassador to London on Monday demanding a full report on how the nerve agent came to have been used in the poisoning. He demanded that Russia disclose the details of its Novichok nerve agents program to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

"On Wednesday we will consider in detail the response from the Russian state," May said. "Should there be no credible response, we will conclude that this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom," she said in a statement to MPs.

Former GRU Colonel Sergey Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter Julia on March 4 suffered from the effects of an unidentified nerve agent. They were found slumped on a bench near The Maltings shopping center in Salisbury. Both are now in hospital in critical condition.

In 2004, Skripal was arrested by the federal security service FSB, charged, tried and convicted of high treason and stripped of all ranks and awards. In 2010 he was handed over to the United States under an arrangement to exchange persons arrested on spying charges. Later in the same year Skripal settled in Britain.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin advised Britons on Monday to get things clear with the poisoning of Sergei Skripal before discussing the incident with Russia.

During a visit to a selected seeds greenhouse of the National Grain Center, Putin was asked by a BBC journalist about whether Russia was responsible for the incident. The Russian leader replied: "You should first get things clear yourselves on the spot and after that we will discuss this with you.".