Published: Sun, March 18, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

UK: Spy case was attack on global values

UK: Spy case was attack on global values

Earlier this week the United Kingdom expelled 23 Russian diplomats after the Kremlin failed to respond to a demand by Prime Minister Theresa May to explain whether it was involved in the attack.

The poisoning of 66-year-old Sergei Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury with a nerve agent identified by British authorities as one made only by Russian Federation has thrown the two countries' relations into a profound crisis.

The poisoning has drawn comparisons to the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

The two are hospitalized in critical condition. "The investigators are also ready to cooperate with the relevant authorities in Great Britain".

Ambassador Laurie Bristow spoke Saturday after being called to the Russian Foreign Ministry to be informed that Russia will expel 23 diplomats, a tit-for-tat retaliation to Britain's announcement this week that 23 Russians would be expelled.

Russian Federation also said it was closing Britain's consulate in the city of Saint Petersburg, citing a "disparity" in the number of diplomatic missions held by the two countries.

The government in London "anticipated a response of this kind and the National Security Council will meet early next week to consider next steps", a statement from the Foreign Office said.

"Russia's response doesn't change the facts of the matter - the attempted assassination of two people on British soil, for which there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable", she said.

"The measures are more harsh, but the British deserved them".

Earlier in the week, Mr Bristow met with Russian deputy foreign minister Vladimir Titov, however there were conflicting reports over the reason for the meeting. The U.S., France and Germany have already lined up against Russian Federation on this attack, and top European Union diplomats may discuss next steps at a meeting Monday.

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Skripal's poisoning has prompted police in Britain to re-examine the cases of several Russians who have died or fallen ill on United Kingdom soil, amid criticism that the British government shut down the original investigations for political reasons without getting to the bottom of what happened.

Skripal had taken his daughter, who was on a visit from Moscow, out for lunch in Salisbury before they both collapsed on a bench.

The UK claims they were poisoned by the Russian secret service using Novichok nerve gas, while the Russians reject such claims as false.

"Our quarrel is with Putin's Kremlin and with his decision, and we think it is overwhelmingly likely that it was his decision to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the U.K.", Johnson said.

Speaking on Russia-24 television, Zakharova on Saturday linked Britain's angry reaction to the war in Syria. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg followed that up Friday by saying that the incident reflected a Russian "pattern of reckless behavior" that includes cyberattacks and election meddling.

"Twenty-three diplomatic staff of the UK Embassy in Moscow are declared persona non grata and are to be expelled from Russian Federation within a week".

"Any reference or mention of our president in this regard is a shocking and unforgivable breach of diplomatic rules of decent behaviour", Peskov said according to Russian press agency TASS.

On Friday, police said they were treating the March 12 death of exiled businessman Nikolai Glushkov as murder after a post-mortem found he died from "compression to the neck".

Speaking at an event in Moscow on Thursday night, Vladimir Putin said Russian Federation was a "proud" nation "and will be in the future, too".

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