Spy poisoning: May says state-sponsored attacks unacceptable

Cesar Mills
March 19, 2018

The Foreign Ministry said it would also order an end to all activities of the British Council, Britain's worldwide organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities, and warned London that "if any further unfriendly actions are taken against Russia, the Russian side reserves the right to take other retaliatory measures".

"The British side is warned that if it takes any further measures against Russia, Russia has a right to take other responsive actions", Russian Foreign Ministry informs.

Britain's top diplomat on Friday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering the nerve-agent attack that left Sergei Skripal and his daughter fighting for their lives.

On Saturday, Theresa May said that Russia's expulsion of 23 British diplomats "doesn't change the facts of the matter" of the poisoning of a former double agent in an English city.

Other measures included closing the British Council and shutting down the British consulate in St Petersburg, while the country indicated it could take further action should there be what it called more "unfriendly" moves.

He also said that France, Germany and the United States supported London's version of Salisbury attack, while "Russia stands alone and isolated".

The British diplomats must leave Moscow within a week, Russia's foreign ministry said on Saturday, after a meeting with Britain's ambassador to Russia, Laurie Bristow.

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Putin himself has yet to make a public comment on the attack, aside from one remark to a BBC reporter earlier this week in which he said: "Sort things out from your side and then we will discuss this with you".

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The terrorist has not been identified by name, but is described as a resident of the town of Shechem in the West Bank. Israeli and Palestinian officials have not made a statement over the identity of the attacker.

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UK-Russia relations have been fractious ever since the assassination of another former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, in 2006. Russian court officials at the time said he'd received at least $100,000 for his work for MI6, the British intelligence service.

"We anticipated a response of this kind and the National Security Council will meet early next week to consider next steps", said Britain's Foreign Office.

"We object to these claims about the origin of (the toxin), which are not substantiated", Stropnicky said on his official Twitter feed.

Russians began voting Sunday in a presidential election widely expected to cement President Vladimir Putin's power for another six years.

Russian Federation has insisted it is ready to cooperate in investigating the attack in Salisbury if Britain reciprocates by sharing the evidence it holds.

On March 4 spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, are found unconscious, slumped on a bench outside a shopping centre in Salisbury. It ordered the diplomats to leave within a week. The pair remain critically ill in the hospital.

Britain said the assistance in that case was not enough, and in 2016, a judge-led inquiry concluded that Putin had probably approved Litvinenko's murder, something Moscow denies.

Russia's attacking the wrong target with its "misguided" decision to close the council, Clementine Cecil, executive director of the Pushkin House center in London, which promotes Russian culture, wrote on Facebook.

British police said on Friday that he died from compression to the neck and opened a murder investigation.

Other reports by GizPress

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