US, France, Germany join United Kingdom over spy poisoning row

Aaron Brown
March 18, 2018

The Russian Foreign Ministry had earlier announced that Britain would expect tough measures from Russia in response to expelling 23 Russian diplomats from London on the backdrop of alleged involvement of Russia in the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain.

The Foreign Secretary said "all responsible nations" shared an obligation to take on Russian aggression that "threatens the very architecture of global security".

The Russian ministry also said it was ordering the British Council in Russia to cease operation and that a British consulate in St. Petersburg would not reopen.

She told MPs it was "highly likely" ex-MI6 double agent Skripal and his daughter were attacked with a Russian-produced nerve agent called Novichok.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said Russian Federation is guilty of attempted murder on British soil.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday gave the 23 Russian diplomats - whom she described as undeclared intelligence officers - a week to leave, as she accused the Russian state of being "culpable" for the attack in Salisbury.

British regulator Ofcom has warned it could review RT's licence if Russian Federation were found to have been responsible for the attack on Skripal, who came to Britain in a 2010 spy swap.

Some Russia experts said the measures announced by May were unlikely to make Russian President Vladimir Putin's government change its behavior.

Confirming Labour's support for Mrs May's actions, Mr Corbyn said: "We agree with the Government's action in relation to Russian diplomats".

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In a rare joint statement, the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and the United States on Thursday condemned the attack on Skripal and his daughter Yulia-both in a critical but stable condition in hospital-as an "assault on UK sovereignty". They added that "Russia's failure to address the legitimate request by the United Kingdom government further underlines its responsibility". "Russia's claim that Ukrainians made a free choice in that sham "referendum" has always lacked credibility", she said in a statement.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded, saying Johnson's claims violated all rules of diplomatic protocol.

In the Salisbury case, Russian Federation has focused its efforts on a campaign of denial and counterclaim in which officials at times have contradicted each other. He says the West has repeatedly tried to undermine Russian Federation.

The Russian campaign remains lacklustre just three days before the vote, and Mr Putin is overwhelmingly expected to win another term after 18 years in power, riding in part on his argument that he must stand up to Western aggressors.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to members of military as she visits Salisbury southwest England, March 15, 2018.

Alexander Yakovenko said on Russia-24 television it will have a "serious impact" on the embassy's work.

But in 2010 he was given refuge in Britain after being exchanged for Russian spies.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May had pointed accussing fingers at Russian Federation for being responsible for the attack on Skripal and his daughter.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose response to the attack has led to criticism from some on his backbenches, said "the evidence points towards Russia" being responsible - but the possibility of gangsters being behind the attack rather than the Kremlin could not be excluded.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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