Chemical arms watchdog to meet over UK-Russia spy poison case

Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko

Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko

On Saturday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook that more than 50 diplomats and staff members of the United Kingdom diplomatic mission in Russia would have to return to the United Kingdom in order to maintain the parity in the number of diplomatic personnel of the two countries.

Russian Federation requested the meeting and has demanded an "unbiased investigation" by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The OPCW said Russian Federation had asked for the meeting but London has already accused Moscow of requesting the OPCW talks as a "diversionary tactic".

Mr Buzhinskiy's comments echo Sergey Lavrov's declaration that East-West tensions are worse now than during the Cold War and accused Britain and the USA of spreading "lies and disinformation".

Over 100 Russian diplomats have been expelled from countries across the world after Britain accused Russia of using a military-grade nerve agent on ex-spy Sergei Skripal as he strolled with his daughter in Salisbury.

"As the Prime Minister has said, we must face the facts, and the challenge of Russian Federation is one that will endure for years to come".

Russia's envoy to the European Union says British accusations of Russian involvement in the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy could have been an attempt to distract public attention from Britain's troubled exit from the EU.

In response Russian Federation expelled 23 British diplomats, closed a British consulate in Saint Petersburg and halted the activities of the British Council educational and cultural organisation.

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"If there were any gripes against the man, he wouldn't have been swapped", Lavrov said.

Russian Federation denies it was behind the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, calling the accusation "delirium and nonsense".

Trump reiterated his long-standing call for better relations with Moscow, despite a series of conflagrations and crises, including Russian meddling in the U.S. election and the poisoning of a Russian double agent on British soil.

"It could also be advantageous to the British government, who clearly find themselves in a hard situation having failed to fulfil their promises to voters over Brexit". Last week, the Russian foreign ministry announced tit-for-tat measure against these countries.

"It is our assessment that Russian Federation was responsible for this brazen and reckless act and, as the worldwide community agrees, there is no other plausible explanation", the spokesperson said.

Alexander Shulgin, the Russian representative at the OPCW, said Monday in televised remarks that the organization must conduct an "open, thorough and unbiased investigation" - with Russian experts' participation. His daughter Yulia has been taken off the critical list.

Military personnel investigating the Skripal attack wear protective suits in Salisbury on March 11, 2018.

"Many say that the situation now is worse than it was during the Cold War because some rules existed and decorum was observed back then", he said.

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