The Latest: Russia tells UK: provide proof or apologize

The Latest: Russia tells UK: provide proof or apologize
A police car is parked at the British Consulate General, in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, March 17, 2018. Russia on Saturday announced it is expelling 23 British diplomats and threatened further measures in retaliation in a growing diplomatic dispute over a nerve agent attack on a former spy in Britain. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy and his daughter in Britain (all times local):

12:05 p.m.

The Kremlin says Britain will eventually have to offer proof to back up its claim of Russia’s involvement in the poisoning of an ex-spy — or apologize.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that the “slanderous anti-Russian flow coming from Britain is inexplicable, unfounded and driven by unclear motives.”

He told reporters that Britain will have “to back it with some kind of proof or offer excuses.”

Britain has accused Russia of using a military-grade nerve agent to poison former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, who have been in critical condition for two weeks. Britain has announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats, and Russia has responded in kind.

The European Union on Monday condemned Skripal’s poisoning, and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson dismissed Moscow’s denials as absurd.

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10 a.m.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is describing Russian claims that it is not responsible for the poisoning of a former spy as absurd, and says the U.K. has the full backing of its European partners.

Johnson told reporters in Brussels Monday that “Russian denials grow increasingly absurd,” with contradictory claims about whether Russia produced the nerve agent Novichok used in the March 4 attack that left Sergei Skripal and his daughter in critical condition.

He said “what people can see is that this is a classic Russian strategy of trying to conceal the needle of truth in a haystack of lies and obfuscation.”

Johnson, speaking before briefing European Union foreign ministers on developments, said many in the bloc have been victims of “malign Russian behavior” and that Moscow is “not fooling anybody anymore.”