Tuesday, 21 May, 2019

Russia expels 23 British diplomats in stand-off over spy poisoning

Patty Aguilar | 18 March, 2018, 00:18

The attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury was highlighted by the US Treasury as one of the justifications for the tougher line against Moscow.

Britain, the United States, Germany and France jointly called on Russian Federation on Thursday to explain the attack.

In an official response to the alleged attack, UK Prime Minister Theresa May stated that "Russia was culpable of an attempted murder", and ordered the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the country.

A tit-for-tat reaction is expected to the Prime Minister's decision to kick out 23 diplomats who she said were undeclared intelligence officers.

Glushkov was strangled. While there is no evidence yet to link his killing to the Skripals' case, police said they were "keeping an open mind" because of Glushkov's nationality and his association with Boris Berezovsky, a Russian oligarch and Putin critic who died under mysterious circumstances in 2013.

Britain, the United States, Germany and France have jointly called on Russia to explain the attack, while U.S. President Donald Trump has said it looks as if the Russians were behind it. "This use of chemical weapons is a clear violation of the global law", he said. "They may be alive, maybe not, maybe nothing happened at all", he said.

"Many trails point to the fact that Russian Federation is responsible", Merkel said just before talks in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron where they were expected to discuss an appropriate response to the attack.

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The poisoning has drawn comparisons to the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006. The two remain in critical condition.

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an global Jewish non-governmental organization always looking for anything allegedly "anti-semitic", said: "President Putin bizarrely has resorted to the blame game by pointing the finger at Jews and other minorities in his country", adding that "It is deeply disturbing to see the Russian president giving new life to classic anti-semitic stereotypes that have plagued his country for hundreds of years".

In Yulia Skripal's suitcase: Ms Skripal returned from a visit to her native country the day before the attack, and intelligence chiefs believe an item of clothing, cosmetics or a gift may have been laced with the poison, the Telegraph reported.

"Those measures should sober British politicians up", Dzhabarov said, "primarily Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who dared to make an offensive statement regarding the head of a great state, virtually accusing him of ordering the poisoning of Skripal". "Our quarrel is with Putin's Kremlin, and with his decision - and we think it overwhelmingly likely that it was his decision - to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the United Kingdom".

The sanctions prompted a swift threat of retaliation from the Russian government, which said a response was already being prepared.

On Friday, the Kremlin was quick to dismiss Britain's accusation that President Vladimir Putin was behind the attack, calling the claim "shocking and inexcusable".

Moscow will also terminate the activities of the British Council in Russian Federation "due to its unresolved status".

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