Moscow today accused Britain of trying to "undermine trust" ahead of the football World Cup to be held in Russia, after Prime Minister Theresa May called it "highly likely" that Russia was behind the poisoning of a former spy on British soil.
"We have repeatedly warned: before the FIFA World Cup starts in Russia (this summer), Western media would launch a full-scale campaign with the aim of discrediting Russia and undermine trust in it as the host of this sporting event," the ministry said.
"As we assumed, the English have been especially active, unable to forgive Russia that it was our country that was chosen in an honest contest to host the 2018 tournament," it said in the statement on its official Facebook page.
The poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal along with his daughter was being used as a pretext to call for a boycott despite an investigation "not only not yet being completed but, in fact, not yet begun," it said.
May yesterday pointed the finger at Russia for trying to kill Skripal, who sold secrets to Britain and later moved there in a 2010 spy swap.
But she stopped short of announcing retaliatory measures against Moscow and instead gave the Kremlin until the end of today to explain a nerve agents programme allegedly involved in the Skripal case.
"This is a circus show in the British parliament," she said.
"Rather than think up new fairy tales, maybe someone in the kingdom could explain how the previous ones ended up -- about Litvinenko, Berezovsky, Perepilichny and many others who have mysteriously died on British soil," Zakharova added.
"There is no evidence, but Russia is to blame for everything," he said.
The investigation could be aimed at influencing Russia's presidential election at the weekend, he told agencies.
Andrei Lugovoi, a prime suspect in Litvinenko's 2006 killing who has never been extradited and is now a member of the Russian parliament, called May's speech "irresponsible".
"Soon everything will be classified, as this is the only way to make sure the public has no access to the case materials, as was the case in the Litvinenko affair," he said.
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