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    This photo taken on May 7, 2013 shows Russian and the US flags running up as the US Secretary of State arrives at Moscow Vnukovo Airport

    Atmosphere in Washington Toward Russia ‘Poisoned’ – Russian Ambassador to US

    © AFP 2018 / MLADEN ANTONOV
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Russia's Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov on Friday compared the current atmosphere in Washington toward Russia to "poison."

    "The tragedy in London was only a trigger for our bad relations, but it seems to me that atmosphere in Washington is poisoned.  It’s a toxic atmosphere," Antonov told NBC's Today Show.

    The ambassador said he sometimes jokes with the embassy's press secretary that Russia is blamed for every imaginable negative incident — even bad weather.

    "It’s high time for us to stop blaming each other. It’s high time for us to start the real conversation about real problems," he underscored.

    Moscow did not have any reason to try to kill former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in a nerve agent attack on the eve of the country's presidential election, Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said in an interview on Friday.

    "It’s very interesting question. You say that, let’s again look at the history. That guy, he was an ex-spy, yes? He spent 5 years in a Russian jail. Then he spent five years in London. Please there is just only a question, do we have motive to kill him on the eve of Russian presidential election?" Antonov told NBC News in an interview when asked if Russia was involved in Skripal's poisoning. "Of course no. Where is motive, you see that?"

    On Monday, the US Administration expelled 60 Russian diplomats and closed the Russian Consulate General in Seattle after Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy who worked for UK intelligence, and his daughter Yulia were exposed to what UK experts claim was an A234 nerve agent. London has said that it was "highly likely" that Moscow was behind the attack. The UK government responded by expelling 23 Russian diplomats from the country. Expressing solidarity with the United Kingdom, the United States and over 25 other countries also expelled Russian diplomats.

    READ MORE: Russia Expels EU States' Diplomats in Tit-for-Tat Measures Amid Skripal Case

    Skripal, a former Russian spy who worked for UK intelligence, and his daughter Yulia have been hospitalized since March 4 after being exposed to what UK experts claim was a A234 nerve agent. London has stated that it was "highly likely" that Moscow was behind the attack.

    Russia has strongly rejected the accusations. Moscow has repeatedly offered to help with the investigation, but its offers of assistance have been rejected by London.

    Related:

    Lavrov: Russia to Expel 60 US Diplomats, Close Consulate in St. Petersburg
    UK Uses Skripal Case as Instrument of Anti-Russian Propaganda – Ex-Intel Chief
    Arrest of Russian Accounts in US Over Skripal Case Possible - US Ambassador
    Spy Hard: US Officials Explain Why It’s Hard to Track Russian Agents
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    Anatoly Antonov, United States, Russia
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