Russia will be punished if found guilty: Trump/May

By Monitoring Desk
Wednesday – March 14, 2018
ISLAMABAD: On the recent poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Viktorovich Skripal, who acted as a “double agent” for United Kingdom’s (UK) intelligence services from 1990s to 2000s, by an alleged Russian made chemical substance, United States (US) president Donald Trump in a telephone conversation with UK prime minister (PM) Theresa May on Tuesday agreed on the need for consequences for those who use such heinous weapons in flagrant violation of international norms.

As per official statements, both agreed that the government of the Russian federation must provide unambiguous answers regarding how this chemical weapon, allegedly developed in Russia, came to be used in the UK.

According to details, Skripal along-with his daughter Yulia, who was visiting him from Moscow, were poisoned by allegedly a chemical substance on March 4th. Both are in critical condition at Salisbury’s district hospital.

Arrested in 2004 by Russian federal security service (FSS), Skripal was handed over to the UK in 2010 as per “illegals programme spy swap” initiative.

UK ambassador Laurence Bristow was summoned to the Russian foreign office (FO) on Tuesday, where Russian first deputy foreign minister Vladimir Titov strongly protested the “evidence-free accusations” by the UK authorities of Russia’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

It was stated that the actions of the UK authorities are a clear ‘provocation’ and that the Russian federation was not involved in the incident that took place in Salisbury on March 4, 2018.

From the Russian side, it was emphasised that Moscow will not respond to London’s ultimatum until it receives samples of the chemical substance to which the UK investigators are referring and until the UK demonstrates compliance with the chemical weapons convention that stipulates a joint investigation into the incident, for which Moscow is ready.

Without that, there can be no sense in any statements from London. The incident appears to be yet another “crooked attempt by the UK authorities to discredit Russia”. Any threat to take ‘punitive’ measures against Russia will meet with a response. The British side should be aware of that, Titov concluded.

In his conversation with May, Trump stated that the US stands in solidarity with its closest ally and is ready to provide any assistance the UK requests for its investigation. 

Meanwhile, German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel on the suspected attack on Skripal and his daughter on Tuesday said, “I spoke to the British foreign secretary Boris Johnson. We are both most concerned about this matter. We condemn this attack with a banned chemical weapon in the strongest possible terms.”

He added, “We stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with our British friends on this issue and are liaising closely with the UK government. It is clear that the perpetrators must be brought to justice” warning “If it is confirmed that Russia is behind this, then this would be a very serious matter indeed.”

Furthermore, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang on Tuesday held that Chinese authorities have noted relevant reports, but are not aware of what really happened.

Kang hoped, “Both the British and the Russian sides have responded to it. We hope that relevant parties could properly resolve this issue based on facts and through appropriate channels.”