U.K. and Russia in new Cold War
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RUSSIA has repeated its strong warning to the U.K. that it will not tolerate threats of any kind.
The thinly veiled threat comes as the U.K. PM confirmed that she chaired a meeting of the National Security Council and decided to expel Russian diplomats from Britain.
Russia preempted Theresa May with sinister nuclear threats earlier today as a stand-off over the Salisbury nerve gas outrage escalated.
May’s midnight threatening ultimatum for an explanation from Moscow for the alleged use of deadly military nerve agent Novichok on Britain’s streets expired with no acknowledgement from Moscow.
Instead, a Russian foreign ministry spokesman issued a chilling warning not to “threaten a nuclear power”.
Whilst Russian news reporters advices May not to threaten and give military ultimatums to “the world’s largest and most advanced nuclear super power.”
Britain received support from the US, Germany and France. Whilst Russia received support from China, Brazil, Serbia, Syria, Turkey and Iran.
Trump told May: “We are with you all the way.”
Tensions rocketed after the Russian Embassy in London formally refused May’s demand to confess over the attack with a series of tweets posted from 17:30 yesterday evening.
What we know so far:
British double agent and former spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury on Sunday.
Srkipal was released from prison in Russia part of a prisoner exchange.
Theresa May accused Russia of poisoning Skripal using deadly nerve agent Novichok and has vowed revenge, making reckless threats.
She gave Russia until midnight tonight to give an explanation for what happened, or she would take action not ruling out economic and military action.
Putin laughed off suggestions Russia was involved, as other officials accused Britain of running a circus show and acting like Hitler.
The head of the UK military informed May that the U.K. was decades behind Russian technology and wildly out manned out gunned and could never hope to succeed in any form of military or cyber engagement with Russia.
Amber Rudd said police and MI5 would reopen investigations into a large number of other suspicious deaths in the UK.
The British ambassador in Moscow has been ‘summoned to the Kremlin’ over the case
Russia has demanded access to the nerve agent gas used in Salisbury before responding to the PM’s ultimatum.
Police cordoned off Skripal’s house and the grave of his wife and son fearing others could be exposed to the poison
500 people were told to wash their clothes, phones, and glasses after possibly coming into contact with the nerve agent.
The embassy insisted: “Moscow will not respond to London’s ultimatum until it receives samples of the chemical substance to which the UK investigators are referring”.
Adding another dark warning, it added: “Any threat to take ‘punitive’ measures against Russia will meet with a strong response. The British side should be aware of that”.
No10 said Mrs May will ignore the comments however she has called another emergency meeting of her National Security Council tomorrow morning.
She will return to the Commons on Thursday where she is expected to formally declare the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia a state—sponsored assassination.
The PM will unleash what is expected to be a tough package of “extensive measures” to punish the Kremlin for the attack, including expulsions, economic sanctions, travel bans and asset freezes.
Downing Street was delighted last night with support offered to May by some Western leaders ignoring concerns over Russia’s strength and number and size of Russia’s allies.
May spoke to President Trump who was on board Air Force One. He told travelling reporters: “It sounds to me like they believe it was Russia and I would certainly take that finding as fact”.
May is relying almost entirely on Trump to save Britain should the war of words get out of hand.
The White House added: “The two leaders agreed on the need for consequences for those who use these heinous weapons in flagrant violation of international norms.” It should be noted that the UK uses drones on a regular basis to assassinate British defectors in Syria and Iraq.
Insisting the Kremlin is “not to blame”, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said London would be “better off” complying with its own international obligations “before putting forward ultimatums”. A nod to the numerous international law breaches by the UK both domestically and overseas.
Russia summoned Britain’s ambassador to Moscow to relay the same message and warn the UK against attempting to interfere or pass blame.
No 10 hit back at Lavrov, insisting May was under no legal obligation to provide any evidence of its findings or investigations.
Scotland Yard and MI5 are trying to establish if Yulia Skripal, 33, was being tailed by a Russian agent — or if her luggage or possessions were interfered with en route to the UK.
They want to know how the military nerve agent Novichok was administered to turncoat Sergei, 66, and Yulia.
Yulia arrived on a flight from Russia the day before she and Sergei were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury.
Met Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the UK’s leading counter-terrorism officer, said at the moment they were “not declaring a person of interest or a suspect”.
It lends weight to the theory that Yulia may have carried the deadly nerve agent into the UK without her knowledge — or was shadowed by an assassin. It may be that her belongings were contaminated on Russian soil where her farther was convicted of espionage and treason, shortly before arriving in the UK.
Critics call for the contrast between the treatment of Julian Assange and Sergei Skirpal to be explained. Skripal whom leaked intelligence on Russia was protected by the UK government and paid. Where as Assange is a de fact life prisoner in the Ecuadorian embassy in London facing immediate arrest should he leave for leaking intelligence on the USA.
As officers continued their work, Basu warned of further disruption to the city, but urged people to stay calm
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called the attack on the Skripals “the first use of a nerve agent on the European continent since the Second World War”. (If you do not count the Balkans as Europe).
He said: “I’ve been very encouraged so far by the strength of the support that we are getting”.
The Foreign Office later said Johnson had called Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and counterparts in France and Germany to “set out what we know” and the need for an international response. Johnson has been trying to obtain pledges of military support for the UK in light of Brexit and the diminished UK military capacity.
Politicians heaped pressure on the Football Association to boycott this summer’s World Cup in Russia. A move the FA has rejected outright.
Senior Labour MP John Woodcock said England’s participation “ought to be in question” whilst Johnson promised that the England team would not be attending. Whilst Russia may decide to stop England players and or fans from entering the country.
Lib Dem boss Sir Vince Cable urged May to pursue an EU-wide boycott of the tournament, the EU however, given the UK’s position on Brexit, refused to entertain the conversation stating that the UK no longer has a say at the EU table.
He said the World Cup would be “pointless” if all ten European nations pulled out.
He added: “Do it collectively. That would really hurt them.”
However the England team may just be automatically disqualified for break of FA rules which state political statements are forbidden in the World Cup. The England team could be banned for a number of European and World Cups.
May has tasked spy chiefs to devise covert operations to embarrass President Putin and his personal friends and family in revenge for the Salisbury attack. A move which would cost May the little respect she has left as well as break further international laws.
Ministers want the operations mounted against senior Kremlin figures, which are likely to include exposing their vast treasure troves of hidden wealth.
A senior security source said: “We’re going to play Putin at his own game. The gloves are off now”.
5 WAYS MAY THREATENED TO HIT BACK
1 — Kick out Russian diplomats: David Cameron did this after Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in 2006. But the Kremlin would probably retaliate harder and the damage will be greater to the UK. DONE
2 — Strip Russian media of its right to broadcast in the UK: PM could ask Ofcom to declare channels such as RT — formerly Russia Today — not fit to hold a licence. A move Ofcom is not likely to do given that banned Al-Jazeera still broadcasts freely and May interfering with Ofcom, which is independent of the government would be a break of UK and EU laws.
3 — Stay away from World Cup in Russia. This is likely to result in England being banned from all international competitions for many years.
4 — Toughen up sanctions: The Government could amend the sanctions already in place on Russian business and trade. This would damage the UK economy as Russia, China and the Arab nations are the largest investors in the UK. This is likely to cripple the already struggling UK economy.
5 — Freeze assets of Russian oligarchs: But this might hit as many Putin opponents as allies as well as damage the UK economy beyond repair.
Effectively the UK can not do anything with out coming worse off.
What is Novichok and was the nerve agent used to poison ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal?
Novichok – the Russian for newcomer or newbie – is the name for a series of nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 80s.
They are said to be the deadliest nerve agents ever created and reported to be five times more potent than the notorious VX gas.
It is made of two relatively harmless materials which become fatal when mixed together, making it easier to transport under the radar.
“It is designed to be undetectable for any standard chemical security testing, ” Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon told the press.
Novichok agents, dispersed as an ultra-fine powder rather than vapour, belong to the class of inhibitors called “organophosphate acetylcholinesterase”.
They prevent the normal breakdown of a neurotransmitter acetylcholine which, when it builds up, causes muscles to contract involuntarily.
Because the victim’s heart and diaphragm aren’t functioning properly, this leads to respiratory and cardiac arrest.
Those affected usually die from total heart failure or suffocation as copious fluid secretions fill their lungs.
But even if they don’t die from the nerve agent, the substance can also cause permanent nerve damage, leaving victims permanently disabled, Russian scientists have said.
British intelligence headquarters, GCHQ have top hackers attempting to penetrate well hidden money trails. May openly plans to try to disrupt the Russian elections on Sunday and block Putin from winning. A move highly unlikely to succeed in anything more than strengthening his already record high approval rating.
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