March 28, 2018 / 9:18 PM / a month ago

Britain's Johnson says Russia underestimated global response to nerve attack

London (Reuters) - Britain’s foreign minister, Boris Johnson, said on Wednesday Russia had underestimated the international response to the nerve agent attack on a Russian spy in England which London blames on Moscow.

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, arrives at the BBC to appear on the Andrew Marr Show, in central London, Britain March 18, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

Johnson told an audience of ambassadors in London that 27 countries had now moved to expel Russian diplomats over Moscow’s suspected involvement - which Russia denies.

“These expulsions represent a moment when a feeling has suddenly crystallised, when years of vexation and provocation have worn the collective patience to breaking point, and when across the world – across three continents – there are countries who are willing to say enough is enough,” Johnson said.

“If they (Russia) believed that we had become so morally weakened, so dependent on hydrocarbons, so chronically risk averse and so fearful of Russia that we would not dare to respond, then this is their answer,” he added.

Russia denies any involvement in the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, who have been in a critical condition in hospital since they were found unconscious on March 4 on a bench in the southern English city of Salisbury.

Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; Writing by Andrew Heavens; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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