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Japanese top diplomat points out need to verify facts of Skripal case

Taro Kono stressed that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable

TOKYO, March 21. /TASS/. The use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono stressed, calling for establishing facts in the investigation into the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.

"I believe the use of chemical weapons in the light of the poisoning of former staff member of the Main Intelligence Directorate in the UK is unacceptable. The facts need to be verified in this case," Kono said, noting that he exchanged views on this case with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

Ex-Colonel Sergei Skripal from Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent on March 4 and found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, UK. Both of them have been hospitalized and are in critical condition.

British authorities blamed Russia for the poisoning, but failed to provide any evidence to support their accusations. Russia refuted all of London’s allegations. With that, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats and the suspension of high-level bilateral contacts. On Saturday, in response to London’s moves, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported that Russia had declared 23 British diplomats personae-non-gratae and would expel them within a week, close the British consulate general in St. Petersburg, and terminate the British Council’s activity in Russia.