Kremlin says response to Britain could come 'any minute'

Presidential opposition candidate and former TV star Ksenia Sobchak right and Dmitry Gudkov a former lawmaker and Kremlin critic attend a big rall

Putin, a former KGB spy, who is poised to win a fourth term in an election on Sunday, has so far only said publicly that Britain should get to the bottom of what has happened.

Lavrov said Friday that Russian Federation will "of course" expel British diplomats and that he hopes the Skripals recover soon so light can be shed on what happened.

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. "This use of chemical weapons is a clear violation of the worldwide law", he said.

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".

He added: "Our quarrel is with Putin's Kremlin, and with his decision - and we think it overwhelmingly likely that it was his decision - to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the United Kingdom, on the streets of Europe, for the first time since the Second World War".

He also stated that while Russian Federation had nothing to gain from such an attack, "I can think of a great number of countries that would benefit from such accusations". In an attempt to decide how to proceed, London has joined the anti-Russian campaign of how to contain Russia, the Russian Ambassador to London believes.

"Well he's a nice man, I'm told, maybe he wants to claim a place in history by making some bold statements", Lavrov said.

But in an unexpected twist, Russian investigators said on Friday they had opened a criminal investigation into the attempted murder of Yulia Skripal and stood ready to cooperate with British authorities.

The statement made no mention of Sergei Skripal.

British Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, sparked particular outrage in Moscow with his blunt comment on Thursday that "Russia should go away, it should shut up".

Britain blamed Russian Federation for the attack. He accused Russian Federation of "ripping up the global rulebook" and "attempting to "subvert, undermine and influence" countries around the world".

He said even the name Novichok was a "Western invention" and that Russian Federation never gave it a name. "We asked for samples of the substance used to assist in a joint investigation", he reported, but "this request was ignored".

UK-Russia relations have been fractious ever since the assassination of another former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, in 2006.

Putin's spokesman branded the allegations "shocking and unforgivable" as Russian Federation continues to deny any involvement in the UK. The two are still undergoing treatment to recover from the deadly Russian nerve agent.

Russian court officials at the time said he'd received at least $100,000 for his work for MI6, the British intelligence service. Russia's top agency for major crimes was also investigating the attack on Yulia Skripal, who is a Russian citizen.

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