Theresa May, Britain’s Prime Minister, has made it very clear that the UK holds the Russian government responsible for the recent Salisbury nerve agent attack. Sergei Skripal, once a Russian double agent, and his daughter Yulia were the primary targets in the attack that is still being investigated. In light of the events, the United Kingdom is expelling 23 Russian diplomats from British soil. May accused Russia of either direct involvement in the attempted murder or by failing to control its chemical weapons stockpiles, but either way found them to be complicit.
Prime Minister May was reported to have said, “All who [have] been identified as undeclared intelligence officers. They have just one week to leave,” and, “This will be the single biggest expulsion for over 30 years and it will reflect the fact that this is not the first time the Russian state has acted against our country.” She continued to elaborate that Russia had created a “well established pattern” and their response “has shown complete disdain” as the matter was treated with “sarcasm, contempt and defiance.” Despite the nerve agent (Novichok) having been Russian produced, they have not offered an explanation for the situation despite multiple allegations. May continued to say, “It must be met with a full and robust response. We’ve agreed immediate actions to dismantle the Russian espionage network in the UK.”
In regards to this year’s Soccer World Cup, Prime Minister May confirmed that no British ministers or Royal Family members would be attending the event (to be held in Russia). Simultaneously, Russia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Alexander Vladimirovich Yakovenko, told Britain to prepare for retaliation for the 23 expelled diplomats. He confided in a public statement that the United Kingdom’s actions were an “unacceptable provocation” toward British and Russian relations. He specifically said that the UK’s efforts had, “nothing to do with the situation that we have in Salisbury,” and that “this is a really serious provocation.”
Featured image courtesy of the Associated Press.