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Russian envoy seeks meeting with British FM over poisoning case

The Russian embassy in London has sent a request for a meeting of its envoy, Alexander Yakovenko, with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to discuss an investigation into poisoning of a former Russian double agent in Britain which has brought their bilateral ties to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War.

“We hope for a constructive response from the British side and are counting on such a meeting in the very nearest future,” Russia’s RIA news agency cited a spokesman for the Russian embassy as saying on Saturday.

The British Foreign Office confirmed it had received the request with a spokeswoman saying, “We will be responding in due course”.

Ties between Moscow and London hit a new low after Britain last month accused Russia of poisoning Sergei Skripal , 66, and his daughter, Yulia, without offering any proof.

Russia has denied any involvement in the incident, which occurred on March 4 in the British city of Salisbury. The Skripals are being treated in a UK hospital.

The UK claims the nerve agent allegedly used in the poisoning was Novichok, which was developed in the former Soviet Union, basing its accusations against Moscow on that assertion.

Moscow says the substance could have originated in the countries studying Novichok, including the UK itself, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Sweden.

During a meeting of the UN Security Council Thursday Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia warned Britain that it “will be sorry” for falsely accusing Moscow of carrying out the chemical attack.

The Skripals’ case has triggered a major response by Western countries, which in protest to the incident have taken unified action and collectively ordered expulsion of scores of Russian diplomats from respective embassies.

Russia took reciprocal measures against states that make “unfriendly” decisions ejecting foreign diplomats from Moscow. Also, the Kremlin urged these states to review the UK’s evidence pertaining to the case before taking any steps against Russia.

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