A police officer stands guard outside of the home of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, in Salisbury, Britain, March 6, 2018. Picture taken March 6, 2018. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
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After the first known offensive use of a chemical weapon on European soil since World War II, Britain blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the attempted assassination and the West has expelled around 130 Russian diplomats.Russia has denied any involvement in the attack and has said it suspects the British secret services of using the Novichok nerve agent, which was developed by the Soviet military, to frame Russia and stoke anti-Russian hysteria.After Britain expelled 23 Russians it said were spies working under diplomatic cover, Russia followed by throwing out 23 British diplomats.British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the Kremlin had underestimated the Western response to the attack on Skripal and his daughter, which also injured a British policeman.Johnson told an audience of ambassadors in London that 27 countries have now moved to expel Russian diplomats over Moscow's suspected involvement -- which Russia denies.Skripal, who was turned by British spies while in Spain, ended up in Britain after a Cold War-style spy swap that brought 10 Russian spies captured in the United States back to Moscow in exchange for those accused by Moscow of spying for the West.
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