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Lavrov. Photo: Alexander Shcherbak / TASS via Getty Images

Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has said Russia "is not to blame" for the nerve agent attack on an ex-Russian spy in the U.K., AP reports. The denial comes as the Kremlin has also asked the U.K. to open an investigation into the spy's daughter, per Reuters, and summoned the British ambassador to Russia, per the AP.

The backdrop: U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May addressed the House of Commons on Monday and said "the [British] government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal." She gave the Kremlin 36 hours to come up with a credible response. Former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, remain in critical condition after the poisoning.

The latest...

  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in Africa on a diplomatic trip, called the poisoning “an egregious act” and said it “appears that it clearly came from Russia," per NYT.
  • More from Tillerson: “I’ve become extremely concerned about Russia ... We spent most of last year investing a lot into attempts to work together, to solve problems, to address differences. And quite frankly, after a year, we didn’t get very far. Instead what we’ve seen is a pivot on their part to be more aggressive.”
  • His comments were notably stronger against Russia than the White House response. Sanders condemned the poisoning but said nothing about Russia's involvement.

Go deeper

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.