Russia loses vote to join UK probe into spy attack

Russia loses vote to join UK probe into spy attack
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The international chemical weapons watchdog on Wednesday rejected a request by Moscow to launch a joint probe with the United Kingdom into the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter with a military-grade nerve agent.

According to Agence France-Presse, 15 countries voted against Russia's draft motion at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), while six countries voted in favor and 17 abstained. 

"Unfortunately, we haven't been able to have two-thirds of the votes in support of that decision. A qualified majority was needed," Russian ambassador Alexander Shulgin said, according to AFP. 

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Western officials have blamed Moscow for the March 4 poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, on British soil. The U.K. has said it is "highly likely" that Russia carried out the attack.

Moscow has denied any role in the nerve-agent attack, and has blamed the West for harboring an anti-Russia bias.

John Foggo, a British chemical weapons expert, told the OPCW's governing executive council on Wednesday that the U.K would not work with Russia on a joint investigation, calling the proposal from Moscow "perverse," according to AFP.

The poisoning of the Skripals ignited a diplomatic feud between Russia and the West. 

The U.S. joined more than two dozen other countries last week in expelling dozens of Russian officials. Those expulsions were met with similar responses from Moscow. 

In the latest move in the episode, Moscow requested that the United Nations Security Council hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss the allegations that Russia was behind the poisoning of the Skripals.

The council previously met on March 14 to discuss the poisonings.