Britain's top diplomat accuses Putin of being behind Russian spy poisoning

Valentina Tereshkova at the Science Museum

Valentina Tereshkova at the Science Museum

"So we will expand our "black list" with another group of Americans", Ryabkov said, according to Russia's state-run media.

The U.S. Treasury on Thursday sanctioned 19 Russian nationals and five entities in retaliation for Moscow's meddling in the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

He didn't rule out further measures in retaliation for the USA sanctions. In an unusual joint move Wednesday, the U.S., France and Germany also pointed the finger at Russian Federation.

While Ryabkov said Moscow did not wish to sever all communications with Washington, he blamed the mounting tensions on "American political stubbornness", and warned that US lawmakers were "playing with fire by destroying Russian-American relationship because simultaneously they shake global stability".

Russian spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia have been in intensive care after they were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury almost two weeks ago.

Russian Federation said Friday that it will expel British diplomats and halt high-level meetings with the an increasingly global standoff over the nerve agent attack on an ex-spy - but still isn't saying who will be kicked out or when.

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A Downing Street spokesman said: "On Wednesday, the Prime Minister wrote to formally invite the OPCW to verify the Government's analysis of the nerve agent used in the Salisbury attack".

Russian Federation has denied any involvement.

Russia has denied any involvement, cast Britain as a post-colonial power unsettled by Brexit, and even suggested London fabricated the attack in an attempt to whip up anti-Russian hysteria.

Russian Federation would respond by kicking out British diplomats, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying at an event in Moscow, adding that it would happen "soon". President Donald Trump and the leaders of France and Germany joined British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday to directly pin blame for the attack on Russian Federation.

The war of words between Moscow and London continued Friday, with Lavrov lashing back at British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson for saying Russian Federation "should go away and shut up".

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov Thursday slammed Britain's position as "absolutely irresponsible".

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An 83-year-old whistleblower who helped develop Novichok said in an interview published Friday that he thinks the Skripals have little chance of surviving, and that only a few countries in the world have laboratories powerful enough to develop the nerve agent.

In a statement, the four leaders said they shared the view of British investigators that "there is no plausible alternative explanation" for the attack.

He warned that retaliatory steps would soon follow and President Vladimir Putin would choose the option that "most suits Moscow's interests".

On Thursday, Ryabkov claimed that Russian Federation had never developed anything like the alleged nerve agent, identified by the British as Novichok.

Lavrov also lashed out at Britain for not providing consular access to Yulia Skripal, who along with her father is in critical condition at a Salisbury hospital.

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