Russia will kick out UK media outlets if London shuts RT - RIA

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Ms May says tests showed a Soviet-era nerve agent known as Novichok was used in the attack, and that Russian Federation was therefore "highly likely" to be responsible.

May spoke after Moscow ignored a midnight deadline to explain how the nerve agent Novichok, developed by the Soviet Union, was used against Sergei Skripal, an ex-Russian agent convicted of spying for Britain, and his daughter Yulia.

May announced the potential freezing of Russian state assets that pose a security threat, new laws to counter hostile state activity and a downgrading of Britain's attendance at the soccer World Cup in Russia this summer.

"Their response demonstrated complete disdain for the gravity of these events", Ms May said in her statement to Parliament.

British military personnel wearing protective coveralls work to remove a vehicle connected to the March 4 nerve agent attack in Salisbury, from a residential street in Gillingham, southeast England on March 14, 2018. She said there was "no alternative conclusion other than the Russian state was responsible for the attempted murder of Mr Skripal and his daughter", adding, "in the aftermath of this appalling act against our country, this relationship can not be the same". "Now Russia needs to answer the legitimate questions of the British government", said Seibert.

May accused Moscow of reacting with "disdain" to Britain's request for an explanation and said Russia's actions were "an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom".

New Zealand first started negotiating a deal with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in 2010 in hopes of getting better access for butter and beef exports.

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May said some of the measures "cannot be shared publicly for reasons of national security".

"These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. Most statements have fallen somewhere in between the two extremes.

At the United Nations, US Ambassador Nikki Haley blamed Russian Federation for the attack and urged the Security Council to take "immediate, concrete measures to address this now".

The chemical used in the attack has been identified as part of a group of nerve agents developed by Russian Federation known as Novichok, Mrs May said. In an interview with Newshub last week before the attack in Britain, he said he was "deadly serious" about pursuing a Russian Federation trade deal, and that there was no evidence Russian Federation had been responsible for shooting down a passenger plane over Ukraine. The sanctions are the first use of the new powers that Congress passed previous year to punish Moscow for meddling in an election that Trump won over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

George Galloway has dismissed claims that Russian Federation is "culpable" for the Skripal poisoning, saying it wouldn't put a "signature" on such a crime.

The Russian rouble slightly firmed, while stock indexes inched lower in early trade on Wednesday as the market followed closely a dispute between Moscow and London over the poisoning of a former doubled agent.

Some Russia experts cast doubt over whether May's actions met that test. "In my years in parliament I have seen clear thinking in an global crisis overwhelmed by emotion and hasty judgments too many times", he wrote. "It will not deter Russian Federation because Britain is showing too little steel".

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May told the House of Commons that 23 Russians diplomats who have been identified as undeclared intelligence officers have a week to leave Britain.

On Thursday, Lavrov accused May of grandstanding in her response to the incident, and said the Kremlin response would "come very soon".

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.

Laura Clarke, the British High Commissioner, told Radio New Zealand there could be "compatibility" issues should New Zealand continue to seek trade deals with Russian Federation as well as the European Union and Britain.

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.

London is awash with dirty Russian money. Russia's actions since the poisoning "underlines" that conclusion, they said.

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