The British government isn’t backing down from accusing the Russians of being behind the attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson saying that the Russians are stockpiling the nerve agent used in the attack.
Sergei and his daughter Yulia Skripal remain critically ill in hospital after being found slumped on a bench and exposed to the substance in Salisbury.
Johnson also dismissed a suggestion by Russia’s EU ambassador that the agent might have come from a UK laboratory.
Vladimir Chizhov had said the Porton Down lab in Wiltshire may have been the source of the substance.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said Russia is “culpable” for the attack.
On Sunday, newly elected President Vladimir Putin denied Russia was behind the incident but added that he was “ready for co-operation” with the UK.
He told reporters: “Any reasonable person understands that it would be total rubbish, ravings and nonsense for anyone in Russia to allow themselves such antics ahead of the election and the World Cup.”
UK Prime Minister Theresa May told MPs that Porton Down – Britain’s military research base – identified the substance used as being part of a group of military-grade nerve agents known as Novichok developed by the Soviet Union.
Mr Johnson told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “We actually have evidence within the last 10 years that Russia has not only been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination, but has also been creating and stockpiling Novichok.”
He said Russia’s reaction to the incident “was not the response of a country that really believes itself to be innocent”.
Meanwhile, the Russians deny the accusations and claim that the British are to blame for the attack and have said it is a plot by the West to alienate Russia due to setbacks in the Middle East, particularly Syria as an excuse.
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