United Kingdom says to invest £48m in chemical weapons defence after spy poisoning

British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson | Jack Taylor  Getty Images

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson will stress how the "chemical threat does not just come from Russia", as he announces a £48m investment in a "cutting-edge" Chemical Weapons Defence Centre at Porton Down.

It comes as the Prime Minister visited Salisbury to speak to emergency services, members of the public and local businesses.

And Environment Secretary Michael Gove led a cross-governmental ministerial recovery group looking at support which will go to the people and city of Salisbury in the aftermath of the incident.

On Wednesday Theresa May announced the United Kingdom was expelling 23 Russian fake "diplomats" and taking other steps including a World Cup boycott by British officials and royals.

Williamson stressed the chemical threat does not come from just Russian Federation, and admitted relations between the two countries are "chilly".

"But if they do respond to the action we have taken, we'll consider it carefully and we'll look at our options". Frankly, Russia should go away - it should shut up.

Williamson described Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's response as "disappointing".

"Russia has in my view made a deliberate political decision in terms of attacking Britain".

May and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by telephone at 7.30am to discuss the latest developments in the case.

Williamson was speaking in London to announce that the government is spending £50 million to develop a new chemical weapon defence centre at the Ministry of Defence's confidential laboratory, where the nerve agent used against Skripal and his daughter was identified.

Russia's Defence Ministry has called UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson a "vulgar old harpy".

But Gavin Williamson warned Russian Federation against escalating the diplomatic battle over the attempted murder of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

British dignitaries, including members of the royal family, will not attend this summer's World Cup in Russian Federation.

When asked whether UK-Russia relations had returned to pre-1990 tensions, Mr Williamson raised the prospect of the West entering a new Cold War with Moscow.

"As for the boorish expressions by the UK Defense Secretary regarding Russian Federation, in the absence of actual results of his official activities, apparently, they alone remain in the arsenal of Her Majesty's Armed Forces", the MoD said.



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