Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street, in London, March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville
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Britain braced for a showdown with Russia on Wednesday after a midnight deadline set by Prime Minister Theresa May expired without an explanation from Moscow about how a Soviet-era nerve toxin was used to strike down a former Russian double agent.The United States, European Union and NATO supported Britain after May said it was "highly likely" that Russia was behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter with Novichok, a nerve agent developed by the Soviet military.Russia, which denied any involvement, said it was not responding to May's ultimatum until it received samples of the nerve agent, effectively challenging Britain to show what sanctions it would impose against Russian interests.May is expected to outline Britain's response in the British parliament on Wednesday after a meeting of Britain's National Security Council.May said that either the Russian state had poisoned Skripal, a former officer with Russia's GRU military intelligence, or that Russia had somehow lost control of its chemical weapons.Skripal betrayed dozens of Russian agents to British intelligence before being arrested in Moscow and later jailed in 2006 . He was released under a spy swap deal in 2010 and took refuge in Britain.
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