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Monday, April 02, 2018, 18:27
Russia asks chemical weapons agency for answers in spy case
By Associated Press
Monday, April 02, 2018, 18:27 By Associated Press

In this March 6, 2018 file photo, police officers stand outside the house of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England. British police say they believe a Russian ex-spy and his daughter first came into contact with a military-grade nerve agent at their front door. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon says in a statement, March 28 police are now focusing their investigation in and around Sergei Skripal's home. (FRANK AUGSTEIN / AP)

MOSCOW — Russia's foreign ministry asked the international agency that monitors chemical weapons for information Sunday about the investigation of the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in England.

Russia has consistently complained that Britain has not provided evidence to back up its claim of Russian involvement or that the poison that afflicted the Skripals was a Russia-developed nerve agent

A list of questions submitted to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons includes what sort of assistance Britain requested from the watchdog agency and which sampling procedures were used to collect the substance that sickened Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

READ MORE: Russian ex-spy likely poisoned at front door, say UK police

OPCW representatives were among a group of experts Britain asked to analyze the chemical agent involved in the poisonings. Britain claims it was the Soviet-manufactured nerve agent Novichok and has said Russia is likely responsible, which Moscow adamantly denies.

The Foreign Ministry's request came on the same day that Russian diplomats and their families returned to Moscow on two planes after being expelled from the United States, part of the international fallout from the March 4 attack on the Skripals.

Following a wave of similar expulsions ordered by Britain and numerous allies, the United States ordered 60 Russian diplomats out of the country.

Russian news agencies said the diplomats kicked out of the United States returned on two flights that landed Sunday at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport.

ALSO READ: Russia, US envoys leave Washington, St Petersburg

One carried diplomats from the Russian Embassy in Washington; aboard the other were diplomats from the Russian Consulate in New York and Russia's United Nations mission.

A plane which carried Russian diplomats and their family members ordered to leave the US stay on parking after landing at Vnukovo 2 government airport outside Moscow, Russia, April 1, 2018. The United States and more than a dozen European nations expelled Russian diplomats and the Trump administration ordered Russia's consulate in Seattle to close, as the West sought joint punishment for Moscow's alleged role in poisoning an ex-spy in Britain. (ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO / AP)

More than two dozen countries and NATO have expelled Russian diplomats in support of Britain. Russia has ordered an equal number of most of those countries' diplomats to leave and for Britain to reduce the staff at its Moscow embassy to the same number that Russia maintains in London.

Goods are loaded onto a truck outside the US consulate in St Petersburg, Russia, March 31, 2018. Russia announced the expulsion of more than 150 diplomats, including 60 Americans, on Thursday and ordered the closure of the US consulate in St Petersburg by Saturday evening in retaliation for the wave of Western expulsions of Russian diplomats over the poisoning of an ex-spy and his daughter in Britain. (DMITRI LOVETSKY / AP)

Russia consistently has complained that Britain has not provided evidence to back up its claim of Russian involvement or that the poison that afflicted the Skripals was a Russia-developed nerve agent.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also submitted questions to British and French authorities on Saturday. The ministry did not say what actions Russia might take if the parties do not answer the questions or provide partial responses.

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