Russian spy poisoning : FIFA World cup likely to suffer boycott - Whisper Eye

Russian spy poisoning : FIFA World cup likely to suffer boycott

The deadline set by the UK government for Moscow to explain how a Russian-made nerve agent was used to poison a former double agent has passed.

Focus now shifts to what steps Theresa May will take against Russia following the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

Russia denies involvement in their poisoning and has demanded access to a sample of the substance used.

It said the UK’s threat of “punitive” measures would “meet with a response”.

Downing Street says the prime minister has received the backing of US President Donald Trump, who agreed in a phone call that Moscow “must provide unambiguous answers as to how this nerve agent came to be used”.

A spokesman also said France’s President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – Baltic states bordering Russia – have all condemned the attack and offered support to the UK.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said if the attack was shown to be a “direct act” by the Russian state it would be a “clear violation of the chemical weapons convention, a breach of international law and a threat to those who abide by the rules-based international order”.

The Foreign Office is set to brief a session of the North Atlantic Council – Nato’s political decision-making body – on the Skripal incident later.

The UK government has not publicly disclosed the measures it is considering against Moscow.

It also contended international obligations required a joint investigation take place into the incident.

Another tweet said it had sought an “explanation” from the Foreign Office, amid speculation the UK could mount a cyber-attack, as it “takes a serious view on cyber security breaches”.

Moscow has already threatened to expel British media outlets from Russia if the Kremlin-funded TV channel RT is stripped of its licence to broadcast in the UK.

Britain could expel Russian diplomats, as it did after the poisoning of former Russian Federal Security Service operative Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 with radioactive polonium.

But the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent James Landale says many argue that this, and the other measures that were taken after that killing, did not go far enough, and therefore the Skripal response is likely to be much more robust.

Other possible actions could include:

  • Freezing financial assets
  • Bans on visas
  • Boycotting the Fifa World Cup in Russia later this year
  • Taking Russian broadcasters such as RT (formerly Russia Today) off the air in the UK

The actions announced on Wednesday are expected to be those that can be taken unilaterally by the UK – anything co-ordinated with other nations is likely to come later.

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