Relations between London and Moscow plunged to new depths today after Boris Johnson said Vladimir Putin could be personally responsible for the nerve agent attack.
Russia hit back, saying the Foreign Secretary’s comments were “unforgivable”.
And advisers to London’s wealthy Russian elite claim they have been deluged with enquiries about how to improve their safety in recent days.
At least one has asked for a “nuclear bunker” air filtration system at their luxury apartment in up-market Knightsbridge, The Evening Standard reported.
Others have asked for bodyguards, on-call medics and monitoring of their food deliveries in case the produce is poisoned.
Becky Fatemi, managing director of estate agent Rokstone, told the paper: “I’ve already had half a dozen of our Russian clients on the telephone asking for information on bodyguards, extra security for their houses and dialling in for takeaway food.
“They are stopping their usual food deliveries and getting random take-out food orders for safety, and are only drinking bottled water.”
And Peter Wetherell, boss of estate agent Wetherell, said: “Their homes are alarmed, with CCTV links to police stations, infra-red beams to corridors, eye-retina and finger print entry security. Some homes have steel and concrete reinforced panic rooms.
“At the ultra prime level of the market this is all quite standard – just ‘basics’ for the super rich like the Russians.
“At the end of the day the Russians, like all the global super rich, love living in London and a drama like this won’t put them off the British capital – but it has made them even more security conscious.”
The Russian emigres’ fears have been heightened further following the unexplained death of Kremlin critic Nikolai Glushkov at his home in south London.
And events of recent days will have done nothing to calm their nerves, with inflammatory rhetoric flying fro both sides.
Mr Johnson today singled out the Russian leader over the poisoning saga.
He said: “Our quarrel is with Putin’s Kremlin, and with his decision, and we think it overwhelmingly likely that it was his decision to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the UK, on the streets of Europe, for the first time since the Second World War.
“That is why we are at odds with Russia.”
It follows comments from Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson that Russia should “go away and shut up”.
That led to an angry rebuke from Moscow.
Russia’s Defence Ministry said Mr Williamson was an “intellectual impotent” and defence minister Sergey Lavrov said he probably lacked education.
He said: “Well he’s a nice man, I’m told, maybe he wants to claim a place in history by making some bold statements.
“Theresa May’s main argument about Russia’s guilt is ‘highly probable’, while for him it’s ‘Russia should go and shut up’.
“Maybe he lacks education, I don’t know.”