Highly likely Russia behind spy attack – PM

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Media caption Theresa May: Spy poisoned by “military-grade nerve agent”

Former secret agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter had been poisoned by a military-grade nerve real estate agent of a type developed by Russia, Theresa May has told MPs.

The PM said it had been “highly likely” Russia was accountable for the Salisbury attack.

The Foreign Office summoned Russia’s ambassador to provide an explanation.

Mrs May said if there is simply no “credible response” by the end of Wednesday, the UK would conclude there has been a good “unlawful use of force” by Moscow.

The chemical utilized in the attack, the PM mentioned, has been identified as one of a group of neural agents known as Novichok.

Mrs May said: “Either it was a direct action by the Russian condition against our country, or the Ruskies government lost control of its possibly catastrophically damaging nerve agent plus allowed it to get into the fingers of others. ”

The lady said Foreign Secretary Boris Manley had told the ambassador Moscow must provide “full and complete disclosure” of the Novichok programme to worldwide body the Organisation for the Forbidance of Chemical Weapons.

Mrs May said the UK should stand ready to take much more comprehensive measures, and these would be set out within the Commons on Wednesday should presently there be no adequate explanation through Russia.

Retired military cleverness officer Mr Skripal, 66, great daughter, Yulia, 33, were discovered slumped on a bench in Salisbury city centre on Sunday four March. They remain in a critical yet stable condition in hospital.

Det Sgt Nick Bailey, who fell ill attending the particular pair, remains seriously ill, yet has been talking to his family.

Mr Skripal has been convicted by the Russian government associated with passing secrets to MI6 in 2005, but given refuge in the UK this year as part of a “spy swap”.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd will chair a meeting of the govt emergency committee Cobra on Wednesday to discuss the latest developments in the case.

What are Novichok agents?

Image copyright PA
Image caption Researchers removed a vehicle from a village close to Salisbury on Monday
  • The name means “newcomer” in Russian, and applies to several advanced nerve agents developed within secret by the Soviet Union within the 1970s and 1980s
  • One chemical substance – called A-230 – is certainly reportedly five to eight periods more toxic than VX neural agent, which can kill a person inside minutes
  • Some are liquids, other medication is thought to exist in solid type. Some are reported to be “binary weapons”, meaning they are typically saved as two less toxic chemical substances which when mixed, react to generate the more toxic agent
  • One version was reportedly approved for use with the Russian military as a chemical tool
  • Designed to escape detection by worldwide inspectors, their existence was exposed by defectors

Read more on Novichok and what it could do

Addressing the Commons following a meeting of the government’s Nationwide Security Council, Mrs May mentioned: “This attempted murder using a weapons-grade nerve agent in a British city was not just a crime against the Skripals.

“It was a good indiscriminate and reckless act contrary to the United Kingdom, putting the lives associated with innocent civilians at risk. ”

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Media caption Jeremy Corbyn urges action : but criticises the Tories to take donations from “Russian oligarchs”

The lady told MPs the positive identification of the chemical agent was made by specialists at the UK’s Porton Down lab.

She said The ussr has previously produced the real estate agent and would still be capable of doing this.

The decision to stage the finger at Moscow seemed to be based on “Russia’s record of performing state-sponsored assassinations and our evaluation that Russia views some defectors as legitimate targets for assassinations”, the PM added.

Labour head Jeremy Corbyn said “robust dialogue” with Russia was needed to avoid escalating tensions additional – but he was heckled by Tory MPs when this individual raised questions about Russian oligarchs donating money to the Conservatives.

‘Circus show’

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US agreed with all the UK that Russia was probably behind the attack.

“We agree that those responsible — both those who committed the criminal offense and those who ordered it — must face appropriately serious outcomes, ” he added.

“We stand in solidarity with the allies in the United Kingdom and will continue to organize closely our responses. ”

Mrs May spoke in order to French President Emmanuel Macron upon Monday and “discussed the broad pattern of aggressive Russian behavior and agreed that it would be essential to continue to act in concert with allies to deal with it”, her spokesman said.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the use of any neural agent was “horrendous and totally unacceptable” and officials were touching the UK.

Downing Road said the incident was not a good “article five” matter – the mention of the Nato rules which usually say an attack on one member comprises an attack on all.

However , the former UK National Safety Adviser Lord Ricketts said activity would be more effective with a “broader, Nato-EU solidarity behind us”.

He added: “We can’t out-punch Putin… but we can take a endure and we can invite others to participate us. ”

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Media caption President Vladimir Putin is asked whether Russian federation had a hand in the Skripal poisoning

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nancy Zakharova said Mrs May’s declaration was “a circus show within the British parliament”.

“The conclusion is obvious – really another information and political campaign depending on provocation, ” she said.

Earlier, asked whether Russian federation was to blame, President Vladimir Putin told the BBC: “Get towards the bottom of things there, after that we’ll discuss this. ”

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg says the tone from the meeting between Boris Johnson as well as the Russian ambassador Alexander Yakovenko had been “cool but firm”.

She says the men failed to shake hands and the foreign admin expressed the “outrage” of the Uk public.


What will the PM perform next?

Simply by James Landale, diplomatic correspondent

Theresa May might have thrown the kitchen sink at Russian federation, expelling diplomats, toughening sanctions, plus cracking down on oligarchs who maintain their cash in London.

Instead, the PM offers chosen a staged response, tossing down an ultimatum to the Kremlin to explain what happened or face the outcomes.

The debate she was making was that this particular attack crossed a line, it turned out not the sort of thing that will sometimes happens to old spies within the darker underbelly of the intelligence planet, but instead it was part of a design of Russian aggression from which some other countries have also suffered.

The question now is what actions Mrs May will be prepared to undertake Wednesday once Russia has replied, or perhaps failed to respond.

The key will be the scale from the international co-operation she can safe.

For it any thing to crack down on rich Russians in London, but it is another to obtain united international action against Moscow.

This is a harder ask, particularly when President Trump offers yet to comment on the Salisbury attack and many European partners are searching to soften existing sanctions towards Russia.

Mrs May is promising “extensive measures” – the question will be whether they is going to be enough to make the Kremlin think twice.


Law enforcement and Army activity continued within the Salisbury area on Monday, along with officers – some wearing dangerous materials suits – removing the white van from the village associated with Winterslow, about six miles aside.

A Sainsbury’s carpark has become the latest area to be covered off in the city itself.

Mrs May said the folks of Salisbury had responded along with “fortitude and calmness”, but there was clearly some concern among residents regarding the length of time it had taken meant for information to be released.

Image caption Investigations continue at Sergei Skripal’s Salisbury home

On Sunday, up to five hundred Salisbury pub-goers and diners had been told to wash their possessions like a precaution after search for amounts of the substance used to toxic Sergei and Yulia Skripal had been found on and around a table where they had eaten in Zizzi. Traces were also found at the Mill pub in the city which, like Zizzi, remains closed.

Graham Mulcock, who saw the particular Skripals being treated by paramedic in the street, said it was a “disappointment” that advice which “might influence people” was not released sooner.

Former chief healthcare officer for England, Sir Liam Donaldson, said he had also been the “little surprised” that communication with all the public had been “slow to get from the ground”.

Meanwhile, a guy from Salisbury who breached the particular cordon around the bench where Mister Skripal and his daughter were discovered has been jailed for 16 days.

Father-of-three Jamie Dark night, 30, who pleaded guilty in order to assault, criminal damage and racially aggravated public disorder, was believed to have been drunk when he yelled out abusive remarks about Russians, Swindon Magistrates’ Court was informed.