London choosing confrontation: Russian Federation on May firing of envoys over spy attack

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Mr Allen asked the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to verify Britain's findings that Moscow was behind the poisonings, a charge that the Russians have denied.

The UK took its action after Moscow refused to explain how a Russian-made nerve agent was used on a former spy and his daughter in Salisbury.

A British policeman who was also poisoned when he went to help them is in a serious but stable condition.

Earlier on Wednesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced the decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats, the biggest such expulsion since the Cold War.

Describing Novichok as "very nasty stuff", scientist Vil Mirzayanov, a chemist who ran the technical counter-intelligence department in Russia's chemical weapons institute, told Britain's Sky News it was developed as a "weapon of mass murder".

The statement from the White House said: "The United States stands in solidarity with its closest ally, the United Kingdom".

Russian President Vladimir Putin will personally choose an option of retaliatory measures against London that will best correspond to Russia's interests, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday, TASS reports.

Australia is considering its options by way of response, in coordination with the United Kingdom government and other allies.

Russian Federation has refused Britain's demands to explain how Novichok, a nerve agent first developed by the Soviet military, was used against Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, who were found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping centre on March 4 in the southern English city of Salisbury.

"It is surprising that history of 20th and the early 21st century hasn't taught some persons that it is impossible to speak to Russian Federation on the language of ultimatums".

But officials say even British targeting alone will cause some pain to Russians linked to the Kremlin, who under the plans being drawn up will have property and assets seized, if they can not show their holdings come from "legitimate" sources. Putin discussed relations with Britain at a meeting of Russia's Security Council.

Neither members of the royal family nor ministers will attend the football World Cup in Russian Federation later this year.

'Everything leads us to believe that responsibility is in fact attributable to Russian Federation, ' he told reporters.

Moscow has rejected Britain's demands that it provide answers as to how a Soviet-designed nerve agent ended up in Britain.

Mirzayanov also said serious long-term health risks remain for hundreds of Salisbury residents who may have been exposed to trace contamination due to their proximity as the attack unfolded, or who brushed past the Skripals in a pub and a restaurant they visited.

"Confident in our democracy.and our rule of law".

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was among those to question whether England should take part in the World Cup that takes place in June.

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