Russian Federation to 'crank up pressure' on Britain, US over sanctions

Mar 18, 2018, 02:50
Russian Federation to 'crank up pressure' on Britain, US over sanctions

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday Ms May said Britain would revoke the invitation and suspend all planned high level bilateral contacts between London and Moscow, in response to the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal on its territory.

An invitation for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to visit Britain has been canceled, and May said British ministers and royals will not attend the soccer World Cup in Russia this summer.

Britain also announced the decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats over the attack, in which a highly toxic nerve agent was used.

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.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the future in Britain of TV network Russia Today was not a matter for her but for the independent regulator Ofcom.

She announced a range of economic and diplomatic measures, including the suspension of high-level bilateral contacts with Russian Federation. They accuse Russian Federation of aggression against their country, and they issue 20-hour ultimatum.

Hours before Trump issued what amounted to a "you're fired" tweet directed at Rex Tillerson earlier this week, the secretary of state had publicly called out Russian Federation as the source of a nerve agent attack on an ex-spy in Britain.

The American leadership's tone on the issue went through an abrupt change after a telephone conversation Tuesday night between Trump and the British prime minister, with the White House issuing a statement afterwards expressing solidarity with the U.K. According to a readout on the conversation from May's office, "President Trump said the USA was with the U.K. all the way", as NPR reported.

"This crisis has arisen as a result of an appalling attack in the United Kingdom, the attempted murder of two people, using a chemical weapon developed in Russia and not declared by Russia at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, as Russia was and is obliged to do under the Chemical Weapons Convention", he said.

Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were admitted to a hospital after being found unconscious in the southern English city of Salisbury last week.

"We hope reason will prevail and other countries will think hard how serious the evidence against Russian Federation is", he said.

Putin is certain to win a sweeping victory in Sunday's vote, securing another six-year term after 18 years in power, in part on his argument that he must stand up to Western aggressors.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson attempted to rally support on Tuesday by calling his counterparts and vowing that if Russian Federation was responsible, "this would be further reckless behaviour which threatens the global community and requires an worldwide response".

Experts say Russian Federation is the only-known maker of Novichok.

"If the latter, a connection to Russian mafia-like groups that have been allowed to gain a toehold in Britain can not be excluded", he said.

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

UK-Russia relations have been fractious ever since the assassination of another former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, in 2006.

But Peskov repeated that "Russia has nothing to do with this story", in comments carried by Russian news agencies.

The leader of Britain's main opposition party says the government shouldn't rush to blame Moscow for the nerve agent poisoning of a former spy.

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