Theresa May has just said publicly that it is ‘highly likely’ that Russia responsible for the poisoning of Russian ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
In a damning House of Commons statement, the British Prime Minister formally pointed the finger at Moscow for the first time over the poisoning of the ex-spy.
She told the Commons that military-grade nerve agent from Russia was responsible for the poisoning.
May also warned there could be “no suggestion of business as usual”: “We must now stand ready to take much more extensive measures.” Russia has denied any involvement in the attack. President Putin said Britain should figure out what happened to ex-spy Sergei Skripal before blaming the poisoning on Russia.
RT reports: She said it was “highly likely” the attack was either a direct act by the Russian state on Britain, or the Russian government allowed its nerve agent ‘Novichok’ to get into the wrong hands. “The government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible,” she said.
“Either this was a direct act by the Russian State against our country, or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.”
She added that Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, summoned the Russian ambassador to the foreign office on Monday. He said Russia must explain which of the two possible explanations is the correct one. She says the ambassador must reply by the end of Tuesday.
May says if Russia does not give a “credible response” the government will conclude that the attack involved “unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom.” May says if the government does come to that conclusion, she will return to the Commons to outline retaliatory proposals.
Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter have been in hospital in a critical condition since March 4 when they were found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping center in Salisbury.
May says it was not just an attack on Skripal, but an “indiscriminate and reckless” act against Britain.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for a “robust” dialogue with Russia. He caused uproar among Tory MPs by raising the issue of £800,000 donated by Russian oligarchs to the Conservative Party.