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Moscow taunts UK Govt over poisoning allegations

The Russian foreign ministry has mocked allegations of its involvement in a chemical weapon attack in the UK which seriously harmed three people.

The ministry has begun using the hashtag #HighlyLikelyRussia on Twitter to cast aspersions on the Government’s assessment that it was involved in the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal, as well as his daughter and a police officer.

It comes as Prime Minister Theresa May gives Vladimir Putin an ultimatum over coming clean regarding the poisoning.

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The hashtag refers to the UK’s recent cold snap, which originated in Siberia.

A campaign assisted by troll accounts is linking this with the attribution of an attempted murder of a former colonel in Russian military intelligence using a Russian-developed chemical weapon.

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Troll accounts supporting the Russian attempt to deflect criticism are circulating conspiracy theories, off-colour jokes and disinformation to muddy the waters.

The first use of the hashtag was recorded on Tuesday morning in Moscow, when the foreign ministry’s Russian language account tweeted the video.

Twitter recently doubled the list of people it has alerted about interactions with accounts potentially connected to a propaganda effort by a Russian government-linked organisation.

Charges also have been filed against 13 employees of a Russian troll factory which is accused of attempting to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

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