Johnson says corrupt Putin allies may be targeted

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Prime Minister Theresa May announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats Wednesday in response to the poisoning of the former spy in southwest England, and Britain is waiting on the Kremlin's response, which is expected to include tit-for-tat expulsions as the two countries trade barbs over the apparent attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. The Russian president also said that he had ordered the downing of a passenger aircraft flying towards the 2014 Sochi Olympics before learning it was a false alarm. "Any reference or mentioning of our President is nothing else but shocking and unpardonable diplomatic misconduct".

Johnson said the attack on Skripal and his daughter with a military-grade nerve toxin was most likely ordered by Putin himself.

Russia's envoy to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons told The AP that his country has no stocks of the Novichok group of nerve agents, insisting that Soviet-era research into the agents was totally dismantled before Russian Federation joined the organization.

"I had two small children", the Russian president said in the second instalment of the "Putin" documentary, posted on Russian social media.

Vassily Nebenzia, Moscow's ambassador to the United Nations, even suggested at an emergency session of the UN Security Council that the UK might have been responsible for the attack in an attempt to smear Russian Federation. The use of chemical weapons is a different story.

New concerns surfaced Friday about the death this week of a London-based Russian businessman, Nikolai Glushkov, found dead at his south London home on Monday.

London's Metropolitan Police said Friday it had launched a murder investigation into Glushkov's death following the results of a post-mortem exam, which gave the cause of death as "compression to the neck".

"As a precaution, the command is retaining primacy for the investigation because of the associations Mr. Glushkov is believed to have had". Russia's top agency for major crimes was also investigating the attack on Yulia Skripal, who is a Russian citizen.

Meanwhile, British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said Moscow had made a "deliberate political decision" to poison Skripal.

Russia has repeatedly said Britain was refusing to provide a sample of the nerve agent used in Salisbury, and even close British ally France has said it wanted to see proof of Russian involvement before taking action.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told The Associated Press that the Salisbury attack was a direct challenge to Europe.

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