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Moscow summons UK ambassador as it denies spy poisoning

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Moscow summons UK ambassador as it denies spy poisoning

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Moscow summons UK ambassador as it denies spy poisoning

Foreign minister Lavrov dismisses claims of Russian involvement as ‘nonsense’

Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, dismissed allegations of state-sponsored poisoning © Reuters

Russia has summoned Britain’s ambassador to Moscow over British allegations of involvement in the attempted murder of a former spy in the UK.

Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov angrily denied British findings of likely Russian involvement in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer living in the UK, and his daughter Yulia, with a Soviet-era nerve agent.

He told reporters that the findings were “nonsense” and Russia had “nothing to do with it”. Mr Lavrov added that Russia would not respond to Britain’s request to explain its alleged role in the attempted murder of a former Russian spy in the UK until Moscow is allowed access to the case materials.

He added: “We are expecting the United Kingdom to reply to our request that we sent in accordance with the [Chemical Weapons Convention] to present the substance in question to us and to open the entire investigation to us, because it involves a Russian citizen [Mr Skripal’s daughter].”

Prime minister Theresa May earlier said it was “highly likely” that Russia was involved in Mr Skripal’s poisoning and gave Russia until the end of the day on Tuesday to provide a “credible response”.

Mrs May said that Britain could announce “much more extensive” sanctions against President Vladimir Putin’s government than currently exist.

But Mr Lavrov said Russia would act only under terms set by the Chemical Weapons Convention that give respondents 10 days to face accusations of producing chemical weapons used abroad.

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