Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the UK must still deal with Russia despite ‘all fingers’ pointing to it over the Salisbury spy attack.
He said he would ‘do business’ with Vladimir Putin but assertively and on the basis of the UK’s values.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell says he believes Putin was responsible.
But Corbyn said he wanted ‘an absolutely definitive answer’ about the source of the nerve agent used in the attempted murder before blaming Moscow.
In a wide-ranging interview with Radio 4’s World at One, Corbyn said if he won power, he would challenge the newly re-elected president on human rights and the whole basis of the UK’s relationship with Moscow.
Former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, remain critically ill in hospital after being found slumped on a bench on 4 March, reports the BBC.
The 23 Russian diplomats expelled from London after Theresa May told the Commons that Russia was ‘culpable’ for the attack are due to leave on Tuesday.
Moscow has denied all involvement, and expelled British diplomats in turn.
'Shoot from hip'
Corbyn has been criticised by Tory and some Labour MPs for not blaming the Russian state categorically for the attack.
In an interview to be broadcast on Tuesday, he told World at One people should ‘not shoot from the hip’ and instead wait for experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to complete their work testing the poison, again repeating his call for Russia to be sent samples of the nerve agent to identify.
“All fingers point towards Russia’s involvement in this, and obviously the manufacture of the material was undertaken by the Russian state originally,” he said.
“What I’m saying is the weapons were made from Russia, clearly.”
“I think Russia has to be held responsible for it but there has to be an absolutely definitive answer to the question where did the nerve agent come from?”
He added: “I asked the Russians be given a sample so that they can say categorically one way or the other.”