Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the UK and Western partners of playing “children’s games” in their response to the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
He accused countries of “disregarding all accepted behaviour” and resorting to “open lies and disinformation”.
Twenty-nine nations have expelled diplomats over the poisoning, which the UK holds Russia responsible for.
Mr Lavrov also issued fresh denials at the news conference on Monday.
He made the comments in response to a question by the BBC’s Steve Rosenberg about how dangerous growing tensions were between Russia and the West in comparison with the Cold War.
“In the classic Cold War,” Sergei Lavrov said, “there were rules and accepted behaviour”.
“I think our Western partners, I think firstly Great Britain and the USA and a few other countries that blindly follow them, have disregarded all the accepted behaviour.
” “We do not want to play children’s games, but so far our partners are doing precisely that,” he added, saying it was up to them to reduce tensions.
“When we were kids we used to say whoever started it should be the one to finish it.
” During the news conference he also suggested the poisoning could be “in the interests of the British government” because of the “uncomfortable situation” they had found themselves in with Brexit.
“There are other explanations.
The experts are speaking about them.
They say it may well be beneficial for the British special services who are known for their ability to act with a license to kill.
” “There could be a whole number of reasons and none of them can be ruled out,” Mr Lavrov said.
The poisoning row has rumbled on for nearly a month, with the UK saying it is adamant Russia was behind it.
Russia has now told the UK more than 50 of its diplomats have to leave the country, after the British government ordered a cut to 23 Russian staff over last month’s Salisbury poisoning.
Russia said their deeper cut is so the two nations have parity in representation.
Other governments – including the United States – also ordered expulsions of scores of Russian diplomats from their countries, deepening the row.
On Monday Mr Lavrov said it was wrong to target diplomats who “by definition intended to support relations, resolve complicated situations and find way out of difficulties”.