Spy row: UK-Russia relations at a new low

24 March, 2018, 02:16 | Author: Regina Lloyd
  • UK US together against Russia on nerve gas attack in London

Russian Federation denies any involvement in the attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who have been critical in hospital since they were found unconscious on March 4 on a bench in the city of Salisbury.

Since then, British officials have determined it is "highly likely" Moscow was behind what they describe as a chemical attack, in part because they have determined the nerve agent that was used is from the Novichok group of chemical weapons developed by Russian Federation during the Cold War.

The Western leaders said the use of the toxin was a clear breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention and global law.

Russia has repeatedly denied responsibility for the attack and promised retaliatory measures against May's decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats from the United Kingdom.

Russian Federation on Friday dismissed claims by the British officials regarding the incidence of chemical attack in Salisbury and warned the latter to resort to spreading hysteria.

Parts of Salisbury have been turned in a crime scene, as experts in biohazard suits take samples from the places visited by the Skripals before they collapsed on a bench outside a shopping centre.

The Prime Minister also welcomed the support of Germany, France and the US, which support her decision to expel the Russian diplomats.

May pointed the finger firmly at Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday as she outlined retaliatory measures in parliament.

UK US together against Russia on nerve gas attack in London

In a sign of just how tense the relationship has become, British and Russian ministers used openly insulting language while the Russian ambassador said London was trying to divert attention from the difficulties it was having managing Britain's exit from the European Union.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called the attack "an appalling act of violence", but said "Russian authorities must be held to account on the basis of the evidence". "Russia's claim that Ukrainians made a free choice in that sham "referendum" has always lacked credibility", she said in a statement.

Speaking at an emergency Security Council session, Haley on Wednesday also named Russian Federation, saying it was "responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent" and calling the attack "an atrocious crime".

In their statement, Trump, Macron, Merkel and May cited "a pattern of earlier irresponsible Russian behavior" and called on Russia to disclose details of its Novichok program to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warned Moscow will expel British diplomats "soon" after Mrs May announced the biggest expulsion of Russian embassy staff since the Cold War.

But he says Russian Federation has "begun preparing retaliatory measures".

Speaking of Russia's role in the gassing, Boris Johnson, Lavrov's British counterpart, said, "They want to simultaneously deny it, yet at the same time to glory in it".

Britain also received overwhelming support from its allies on the United Nations security council, including the USA, amid heated debate on Wednesday night.



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