UK's May says 'highly likely' Russia behind nerve attack on spy
British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday it was “highly likely” that Moscow was responsible for the poisoning in England of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter using a military-grade nerve agent, APA reports quoting Reuters.
May told parliament that either the Russian state was directly responsible for the poisoning or it had allowed the nerve agent to get into the hands of others. London had given Russia until Wednesday to explain its use.
She said British officials had identified the substance as being part of the Novichok group of nerve agents which were developed by the Soviet military during the 1970s and 1980s.
“Should there be no credible response, we will conclude that this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom,” she said, calling the attack a “reckless and despicable act.”
Russia’s foreign ministry hit back immediately, saying the comments by May were a “circus show” and part of political information campaign against Russia.
Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia, have been in hospital in a critical condition since being found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping centre in the city of Salisbury on March 4.
Relations between Britain and Russia have been strained since the murder in London of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko who died in 2006 after drinking green tea laced with radioactive polonium-210.
On Monday, May said the latest poisoning took place “against a backdrop of a well-established pattern of Russian state aggression” and Britain was ready to take “much more extensive measures” against Russia than in the past.
Russia’s ambassador to London had been summoned to explain to British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson how the nerve agent came to have been used.
“On Wednesday we will consider in detail the response from the Russian state,” May said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin brushed off a question about the affair while visiting a grain centre in southern Russia, saying British authorities should first “get to the bottom of things,” the BBC’s Moscow correspondent wrote on Twitter.
Related news releases
- 19.03.2018Turkish embassy in Denmark attacked with petrol bombs, no injuries - police
- 18.03.2018U.K. should consider extending Brexit talks, Commons Panel says
- 18.03.2018Demonstrations against racism erupt across the U.K.
- 18.03.2018Maldives police arrest 139 opposition protesters under emergency rule
- 17.03.2018Sweden, North Korea talks end, may help pave way for Trump-Kim encounter
- 17.03.2018Turkish PM blasts EU parliament motion on Afrin operation
- 17.03.2018European powers propose new Iran sanctions to meet Trump ultimatum
- 17.03.2018Former columnist of defunct Turkish daily released
- 17.03.2018Turkish military denies bombing hospital in Afrin
- 17.03.2018PYD/PKK explosives kill 6 civilians in Afrin village
- 17.03.2018Erdogan talks to NATO chief, Ukrainian president
- 17.03.2018Palestinian ramming attack kills 2 Israeli soldiers in West Bank: military
- 16.03.2018EU starts retaliation process against U.S. tariffs
- 16.03.2018UK treating death of Russian businessman Glushkov as murder: police
- 16.03.2018Boris Johnson: “Overwhelmingly likely” Putin ordered nerve agent attack
- 16.03.2018Turkey, US still discuss Manbij issue: State Dept. Spox
- 16.03.2018Erdogan, Merkel discuss counter-terrorism over phone
- 15.03.2018EU to propose 3 percent digital tax on turnover of large firms: draft
- 15.03.2018Slovakian prime minister resigns amid journalist murder
- 15.03.2018UK, US, France and Germany blame Russia for nerve agent attack
- 15.03.2018Turkish FM's US visit postponed
- 15.03.2018New German FM to 'pursue more active foreign policy'
- 15.03.2018German diesel ban to hit vehicle resale values, sales: Moody's
- 14.03.2018US diplomat: Finding solution for Kosovo everyone's job
- 14.03.2018Georgia’s ethnic minorities appeal to Russian president
- 14.03.2018UK to expel 23 Russian diplomats over Skripal case
- 14.03.2018Azerbaijanis hold protest rally outside UN office in Tbilisi
- 14.03.2018Angela Merkel reelected as German Chancellor
- 14.03.2018Erdogan ‘hopes’ Afrin is liberated ‘by this evening’
- 14.03.2018Stephen Hawking dies aged 76
- 14.03.2018Federica Mogherin: "Trump-Kim summit could resolve Korean nuclear issue"
- 14.03.2018Bird flu found on Netherlands farm
- 14.03.2018Former Russian Aeroflot director found dead in London
- 13.03.2018Turkish PM's 2-day Azerbaijan visit starts Wednesday
- 13.03.2018Moscow vows to respond to UK threats to impose sanctions over Skripal case
- 13.03.2018UK counter-terror police investigate death
- 11.03.2018Chile issues sweeping new Maritime Laws
- 10.03.2018UK police identify over 200 witnesses in nerve agent attack: minister
- 10.03.2018Hundreds of migrants picked up between Libya and Italy
- 10.03.20182 German journalists arrested in Greece
- 13.03.2018Turkish soldier martyred in Afrin, Syria
- 13.03.2018Euro zone to unlock new loans to Greece, working on debt relief
- 13.03.201810 dead, 18 injured as bus crashes into parked truck in Turkey
- 12.03.2018Local Azerbaijanis protest against decision of Georgian district executive head
- 11.03.2018Anti-Racist March in Italian Florence Over Migrant Murder Gather 10,000 People
- 11.03.2018Britain funds export of CSeries jets in aftermath of trade row