Kremlin promises retaliation against United Kingdom over diplomat expulsions after ex-spy's poisoning

On Monday Theresa May implied Russia could be involved with the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal

British Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament that the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok was used in what appears to be an attempted assassination.

But tensions rocketed after the Russian Embassy in London formally refused Mrs May's demand to come clean over the attack with a series of tweets.

The two governments have been locked in a war of words since Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found slumped on a park bench in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.

A BBC journalist confronted Vladimir Putin about the poisoning of Sergei Skripal - and he received a brutal response from the Russian president.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose response to the attack has led to criticism from some on his backbenches, said "the evidence points towards Russia" being responsible - but the possibility of gangsters being behind the attack rather than the Kremlin could not be excluded.

In London, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson ratcheted up the rhetoric against Russian Federation, accusing it of glorying in the attack on Skripal, which he described as a way of scaring anyone who stood up to President Vladimir Putin.

Sergei Lavrov told Russian media the expulsions would "definitely" happen.

Asked by a Reuters journalist if Russian Federation intends to respond to the deportations announced by the British, the head of British diplomacy said: "We will do it, of course".

The U.K.'s ambassador at the Security Council meeting pointed out that the U.K. has called on the OCPW to take part in the investigation. "Prime Minister May's decision to expel the Russian diplomats is the level of response that many Americans have been craving from our own administration".

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"The United States believes that Russian Federation is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent".

In doing so, Tillerson went further than White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who earlier the same day had condemned the attack, but made no mention of Russian Federation.

"The Met Police's Counter Terrorism Command, which has led the investigation from the outset, is now treating Mr. Glushkov's death as murder", the statement said.

"The most probable source of this agent are the countries who have carried out research on these weapons, including Britain", Nebenzia said. Moscow has vehemently denied responsibility for the poisoning incident.

Britain has written to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, which monitors compliance with the global convention outlawing the use of such weapons, to obtain independent verification of the substance used.

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

"They are working on the theory that the toxin was impregnated in an item of clothing or cosmetics or else in a gift that was opened in his house in Salisbury, meaning Miss Skripal was deliberately targeted to get at her father".

Johnson said the attack was a way for Putin to send a message to anyone considering taking a stand against it that "You do that, you are going to die".

The Kremlin's Peskov called the allegation that Putin was involved "a shocking and unforgivable breach of the diplomatic rules of decent behaviour", TASS news agency reported.

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