British PM accuses directly Putin of poisoning - suspends diplomatic ties with Russia
London will suspend all high level contacts with diplomatic officials from Moscow, including during the upcoming World Cup in Russia. May accused Russia of "flagrantly" breaching its international obligations, and said it was "tragic" that Russian President Putin "has chosen to act in this way." This was reported by Sputnik News.
Prime Minister Theresa May has announced the largest expulsion of Russian diplomats from the UK since the Cold War over the alleged attack on a former spy. May announced that 23 Russian diplomats "identified as undeclared intelligence officers" will be expelled and given one week to leave.
Reiterating a claim she made Monday about Russia's alleged culpibility in the Skripal case, the prime minister accused Russia of an "unlawful use of force against the United Kingdom," saying this crime was part of a well established pattern of "Russian state aggression" in Europe, and accused Moscow of "sarcasm, contempt and defiance" in its response to London's ultimatum to provide further information.
May vowed the creation of new legislative powers against "hostile state activity," as well as possible new counter-espionage powers. May promised the freeze of Russian assets in cases where they threaten UK citizens, adding there was no place for those seeking to do harm to the UK.
The prime minister May stressed that the UK and its allies will coordinate its actions, and welcomed support received from NATO and the EU. A NATO Council meeting will be held to discuss the matter on Thursday.
Skripal's attempted murder was not just an act of aggression against the UK, but an affront to the prohibition of chemical weapons, May said.
Moscow has denounced May's claims as baseless
Moscow has dismissed all accusations of involvment in the Skripal incident and requested access to the case. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has characterized London's accusations as "propaganda," and complained that Russia wasn't provided with any evidence regarding the crime, in spite of the accusation of Russian involvement, and the fact that Russia had made a request for information regarding a crime which affected Yulia Skripal, who is a Russian citizen.
The Russian Embassy in London called the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats announced by UK Prime Minister Theresa May over the poisoning of former intelligence officer Sergei Skripal "unacceptable, short-sighted and unjustified." In a statement, the Embassy said that London was to blame for the harm caused to Russian-UK relations by this "hostile step."
Ex-GRU officer and MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were hospitalized on March 4 following what London claims to have been an attempted poisoning.
DONi News Agency
According to: Sputnik