Vladimir Putin offers to assist United Kingdom in Sergei Skripal…

Cesar Mills
March 19, 2018

"It is Russian Federation that is in flagrant breach of worldwide law and the Chemical Weapons Convention".

Officials from the world's chemical weapons watchdog will arrive in Britain on Monday to investigate the samples used in the attack and the results should be known in about two weeks, Britain's foreign ministry said.

The foreign secretary's statements, made in a BBC interview, came 12 days after the former spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, in south-western England, on March 4.

Britain has said that Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by the Soviet-era "Novichok" nerve agent, and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Sunday that Russian Federation has been stockpiling it and investigating how such weapons could be used in assassinations.

What will the inspectors do first?

Britain says it is Novichok, a class of powerful nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union toward the end of the Cold War.

The samples will be sent to "highly reputable worldwide laboratories" selected by the OPCW for testing.

However, Russia's ambassador to the United Kingdom warned the dispute was escalating "dangerously and out of proportion" and the country reserved the right to take "further retaliatory measures" if more sanctions are implemented.

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said Labour had given a "constructive critique" in response to the incident which others "had misread".

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"It is therefore Russian Federation which is failing to comply with the provisions of the convention", they concluded.

Putin's comments came after British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson accused Russian Federation of stockpiling the nerve agent used in the attack.

"When you have a nerve agent, you check it against certain samples you have in your laboratories", he said on Saturday.

A team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will visit the military research base at Porton Down in Wiltshire.

At the same time, Putin, who won another six-year term in Sunday's election, said that Moscow is open for taking part in the probe together with Britain. "We destroyed all our chemical weapons under the supervision of worldwide organisations, and we did it first, unlike some of our partners who promised to do it, but unfortunately did not keep their promises", Putin said.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had earlier accused Moscow of stockpiling the agent used in the attack.

Johnson said he will brief European Union foreign ministers on the case Monday before meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

He said: 'We actually have evidence within the last 10 years that Russian Federation has not only been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination, but has also been creating and stockpiling Novichok'.

This would be a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Other reports by GizPress

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