US secretary of state says it is ‘almost beyond comprehension’ that state actor could use such a dangerous substance

A nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter “clearly came from Russia” and will have consequences, the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has said, as Theresa May gave Russia till midnight on Tuesday to explain the poisoning in Salisbury.

Tillerson’s remarks went even further than the prime minister’s comments to the House of Commons on Monday, where she said it was “highly likely” Russia was behind the attack, which used the military-grade Novichok nerve agent produced by Russia.

Related: The cold war heats up – and not just in the Labour party

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