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Britain denies ambassador in Moscow was 'summoned to the Kremlin over spy poisoning’ insisting he attended a ‘pre-planned meeting’

British officials say ambassador Dr Laurie Bristow had a "pre-planned meeting" Russia's first deputy foreign minister Vladimir Titov.

Tensions between Britain and Russia have escalated following  the poisoning of ex-double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33,  who were found unconscious outside a shopping centre in Salisbury last week.

Yesterday, a smiling Vladimir Putin refused to deny Russia’s involvement in the poisoning of a former KGB spy when confronted by a BBC reporter.

When asked by journalist Steve Rosenberg "is Russia behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal?" the smirking Kremlin strongman said: "Look, we're busy here with agriculture.

"As you can see the aim is to create good conditions for people's lives and you ask me about some tragedies.

"Get to the bottom of things there, then we'll discuss this."

Putin's allies have accused Britain of acting like Adolf Hitler claiming the UK government has framed Russia for the attack on Skripal.

The country’s former spy boss suggested the Porton Down government laboratory – which identified the nerve agent novichok – was likely to have been behind the attempted hit.

A Russian MP said Theresa May had bought the poison from another country such as Ukraine in order to carry out a “false flag” operation and frame Vladimir Putin.

The PM last night ordered Moscow to explain how novichok made by Russia ended up being used to poison the ex-spy, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33.

But Vitaly Milonov, a member of Putin’s party United Russia, told BBC Radio 4 today: “How can we respond with some fake news, nothing to do with Russian reality? Any crime must have a motivation – what is the motivation.

“You can take this poison from Ukraine or other fake countries which are happy to help you, so I think this is something from a James Bond movie.

“They had to try to kill this poor pensioner, who is useless to us. This is a drama for British TV. It is the behaviour of Hitler.”

In a bizarre rant, the MP also accused Poland’s former foreign minister of being a “Polish prostitute” for pointing out that Russia is not a democracy.

Earlier, former FSB chief Nikolay Kovalyov said: “There is a laboratory (near Salisbury), which is famous all over the world.

“Check if anything leaked from there.”

Meanwhile, chemical weapons scientist Dr Anton Utkin – a former UN inspector in Iraq – denied the existence of novichok, and echoed the claim that Britain maybe responsible for the poisoning.

Dr Utkin led the destruction of chemical weapons in Russia.

He said: “I was dealing with elimination of Russian chemical weapons and with all the responsibility I can say that we have never had a weapon under this name.

“Actually, it is very strange that British experts have found out the formula of this 'super secret' poison nobody knows about.

“It is not clear either how they managed to determine that it was produced in Russia.

“If you know the technology, it is not possible to find out who made a chemical weapon – if the method is the same, the formulas of the substances will be identical.

“So this news only provokes more questions.”


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