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Brits warn poisoning is 'challenge to all' as Turnbull considers Russian Federation sanctions

19 March 2018

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

The Russian government fired-back at the United Kingdom following the expulsion of 23 Kremlin diplomats from the UK; announcing their decision to remove British officials from Russia as tensions between the two nations reach their highest levels since the Cold War.

Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov this morning also questioned Williamson's intelligence as he doubled down on plans to expel British diplomats from Moscow.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said to expect a Russian response "shortly" to Britain's expulsion of Russian diplomats and accused Britain of violating worldwide law and "common sense".

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

When asked what Britain should do next, Tom Tugendhat, a Conservative lawmaker and chair of the foreign affairs select committee, told the BBC: "I think what we got to do is focus entirely on the Putin regime, the Putin family and the Putin henchmen, and focus on their money, much of which is hidden in Western Europe".

Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the final decision on retaliatory measures "will, of course, be made by the Russian president". They remain in critical condition and a policeman who visited their home is in serious condition.

"In light of Russia's previous behaviour, we anticipated a response of this kind and the National Security Council will meet early next week to consider next steps", the spokesperson said. May's line is her government will make a distinction between good Russians and bad Russians.

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Russian Federation insists it had no motive to target Skripal with what Britain says was a highly-potent nerve agent called Novichok, in the first such attack in Europe since World War II.

The expulsion of 23 British diplomatic personnel from Russia was a tit-for-tat move that mirrored Britain's expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats in the United Kingdom - all of whom the British said had been identified as "undeclared" intelligence agents.

On March 15 Britain, France, Germany and the USA say in a rare joint declaration that "there is no plausible alternative explanation" to Russian involvement and call on Moscow to provide "full and complete disclosure" of the Soviet-era chemical programme that developed Novichok.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, speaking in Newcastle, said the emphasis should be on a thorough investigation through the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The representatives of Russia's Foreign Ministry added that the British Council is not anymore functioning in Russian Federation. Russian investigators said on Friday they had opened a criminal investigation into the attemptedmurder of Yulia Skripal and offered to cooperate with British authorities.

Correspondingly, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's position has weakened and he has even been attacked by his own MPs for not giving stronger cross-party backing to May over Russian Federation.

On the same day the British police launch a murder probe into Glushkov's death.

Vil Mirzayanov, who now lives in New Jersey, is quoted in Novaya Gazeta as saying it's unlikely the nerve agent came from another former Soviet country as Russians have suggested.

Brits warn poisoning is 'challenge to all' as Turnbull considers Russian Federation sanctions