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Russia vows retaliation, suggests U.K. poisoned ex-spy

MOSCOW -- The Kremlin said Wednesday that it would respond soon to the recent expulsions of more than 130 Russian diplomats from Western nations. Monday's mass expulsions by the United States, European Union nations and some other countries were a show of solidarity for Britain, which blames Russia for poisoning a former Russian intelligence agent in Britain with a military-grade nerve agent.

Moscow vehemently denies responsibility, and has suggested British special services could have been behind the poisoning of the former Russian spy in the sleepy English market city of Salisbury.

The Russian Foreign Ministry claimed Wednesday that there was "possible involvement" of British special services in the poisoning -- Moscow's bluntest claim yet of alleged British foul play. British officials have previously rejected such Russian claims as nonsense.

Russia vows strong response after U.S. and allies expel diplomats

Moscow said the British failure to provide evidence suggests the poisoning was a "major political provocation."

Asked if Russia was going to react to the diplomatic expulsions, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday that Russia's response would follow and that that it would will be "timely and will suit the interests of Russia."

Peskov, speaking Wednesday in Moscow, told reporters he hoped, "the countries that expressed solidarity with Great Britain and took the decision to expel our diplomats will nevertheless find it necessary to rethink how trustworthy the information to them really is, which is being presented as evidence of this ephemeral involvement of Russia in the events in Salisbury."

U.S. expels 60 Russians over poison attack in U.K.

The Kremlin spokesman also said Moscow "remains open" to a meeting with President Donald Trump but said it, "depends on the American side." President Trump has expressed an interest in holding a summit with Putin, and offered his personal congratulations to the Russian strongman in a phone call after Putin easily won recent national elections widely panned for ballot box stuffing and voter intimidation.

Britain has directly accused Russia of the nerve agent attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. London says the attack was carried out using a chemical nerve agent known as Novichok that was developed by Russia near the end of the Cold War.

Almost 30 nations have expelled a total of more than 130 Russian diplomats this week in a show of solidarity with Britain. Russia has denounced the actions as "boorish," accused many of the countries of bowing to U.S. "blackmail," and pledged to retaliate.

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