Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Russian response in ex-spy poisoning row 'futile'

Theresa May UK will expel 23 Russian diplomats Russian response in ex-spy poisoning row 'futile'
Melissa Porter | 19 March, 2018, 01:10

Relations between Britain and Russian Federation plunged yesterday to a chill not seen since the Cold War as Prime Minister Theresa May expelled 23 diplomats, severed high-level contacts and vowed both open and covert action against Kremlin meddling after the poisoning of a former spy.

But French support was more equivocal with Emmanuel Macron's spokesman declining to blame Russian Federation in the same way until it had seen more evidence, though a later statement said France's support was "unquestionable".

On March 4, ex-Colonel Sergey Skripal of Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate convicted for spying for the United Kingdom, and his daughter Yulia were exposed to a nerve agent.

The French President Emmanuel Macron has backed the UK's claim that Russian Federation was behind the nerve agent poisoning of a former spy and said France will take action in the coming days.

"This latest action by Russian Federation fits into a pattern of behaviour in which Russian Federation disregards the global rules-based order, undermines the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and attempts to subvert and discredit Western democratic institutions and processes". President Vladimir Putin is widely expected to win a fourth term.

"Due to the unregulated status of the British Council in the Russian Federation it will be dissolved", the statement said.

But amid reports that France's backing for Ms May's approach was wavering, an Elysee source said: "France's solidarity with the United Kingdom is unquestionable".

"The President of the Republic and the Prime Minister condemn all use of chemical weapons". Both leaders will discuss the matter yet again this Thursday.

Russian Federation denies any involvement in the attack.

Speaking at a Security Council emergency session, Haley added that "immediate" action was needed to prevent similar attacks.

"Today Russia stands alone and isolated".

Besides, Russia was accused of illegal chemical weapon use, which is a violation of the UN Charter.

She added that American officials "take no pleasure in constantly criticising Russian Federation", but "it must account for its actions".

Twenty three British diplomats have been declared personae non gratae and will be expelled within a week, Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

"The countermeasures announced by the Prime Minister are not exclusively about the attack in Salisbury".