British Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, said police and the security services would investigate allegations of Russian state involvement in a number of deaths over recent years in Britain, a letter published on Tuesday showed.
On Friday, the chairman of parliament’s Home Affairs Committee wrote to Rudd asking for a review of 14 deaths that were not originally treated as suspicious by police but had repeatedly been linked to Russia in media reports.
“I will want to satisfy myself that the allegations are nothing more than that,” Rudd said in her response published on Tuesday.
“The police and (the UK’s domestic spy agency) MI5 agree and will assist in that endeavour.”
Russia denied its involvement in the poisoning of former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and is ready cooperate with the UK on the issue, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said.
On Monday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said that it was “highly likely” that Russia was responsible for the suspected poisoning of Mr. Skripal.
Ms. May said that the substance used in the poisoning was identified as a Novichok class, military-grade nerve agent developed in Russia.
“We have already made a statement that this [Russia’s involvement] is rubbish … Russia is innocent, Russia is ready to cooperate in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention, if the UK … implements its international legal obligations under this document,” Lavrov told reporters.
In an ultimatum to Russia, Ms. May demanded an explanation for the poisoning by the end of Tuesday and threatened to apply harsh response measures.
The prime minister added that she would discuss the measures against Russia with parliament on Wednesday. “If procedures envisioned by the convention are implemented, then I assure you Russia will respond to the relevant request in the time allotted to prepare a response,” he added.