Nerve agent planted in luggage of Russian agent's daughter

A still image taken from video shows Sergei Skripal a former colonel of Russia's GRU military intelligence service attending a hearing at the Moscow military district court

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gestures during a meeting with South Korea's National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong in Moscow, Russia on March 13.

But in a series of British media interviews early on Thursday, Johnson said the evidence of Russian guilt was "overwhelming" because only Moscow had access to the poison used and a motive for harming Sergei Skripal. Peskov on Thursday said Russian President Vladimir Putin would ultimately choose the option that "most suits Moscow's interests".

Cops found Sergei Skripal, 66, and daughter Yulia, 33, slumped on a bench in Salisbury one week after she returned from Moscow. It calls on Russian Federation to "address all questions related to the attack". He added that he condemned the attack in the "strongest possible terms".

The aim of the nerve agents appears to have been to circumvent worldwide conventions banning chemical weapons by developing compounds with new structures that would escape detection, experts say.

Mirzayanov revealed details of Russia's chemical weapons in the 1990s because he said he was afraid of their impact.

May on Wednesday expelled 23 Russian diplomats, severed high-level contacts and vowed both open and covert action following the incident.

Russian Federation has denied any involvement and vowed a swift response to the expulsion of 23 of its diplomats, whom the United Kingdom said were operating as spies.

The Russian foreign ministry, in a statement quoted by news agency AFP, said the British diplomatic staff would be "expelled within a week".

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President Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May said "there is no plausible alternative explanation" to Russian responsibility.

Britain's response has also been complicated by an initially lackluster reaction from the US.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the attack in Britain was part of a pattern of reckless behaviour from Russian Federation over many years. In a separate action, the Trump administration issued sanctions on a number of Russian entities for a wide range of behavior, including attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, an ex-commander of the British Army's chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear regiment, said Novichok was only ever manufactured at one site, a military laboratory at Shikhany in central Russian Federation.

"Over the past four years, Russian Federation has engaged in a campaign of coercion and violence, targeting anyone opposed to its attempted annexation", she said.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Britain could count on NATO's solidarity, but that it had not invoked the alliance's mutual defence clause.

He said nerve agents like Novichok are usually highly unstable and degrade quickly in the presence of moisture, but that if the agent was sealed in a tight container "it ought to be able to hang around".

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