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Puns, poison and… the World Cup? The UK papers react to May’s midnight deadline

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    As May’s midnight deadline for Moscow to ‘explain’ itself over the Salisbury attack approaches, the UK newspapers have gone into overdrive. Nearly every front page is asking: What next for the UK-Russia relationship?

    Every paper from the Financial Times to the Daily Express had Russian President Vladimir Putin’s face emblazoned across its front page. While some headlines were straight down the line, others employed that famous British wit: “From Russia with hate” and “We’ve Vlad enough,” just to name a few.

    The real story: Theresa May issues ultimatum to Russia, Putin over nerve-agent attack

    On Monday afternoon, Theresa May took to the House of Commons to address the issue on everyone’s lips – the poisoning of ex-Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, 33.

    May asserted to the Commons that the type of nerve agent used was a military-grade substance called Novichok. “There are only two plausible explanations for what happened in Salisbury on March 4,” she said.

    “Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country,” May said. “Or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.” Moscow has already called May’s claims “unfounded.”

    The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times, and the Daily Express all ran headlines on May’s midnight deadline for Putin. “May accuses Russia over attack on spy and threatens reprisals,” says the FT. The Guardian ran with “May points finger at Russia over ‘reckless’ poisoning of spy.” While still keeping the hard-news angle, The Times and the Daily Express were a bit more idiosyncratic in their choice of words.

    They said what? 

    Despite the grave nature of UK PM Theresa May’s allegations against the Kremlin, some papers can always be relied upon to take the mickey. Who cares if the modern world appears to be on the brink of diplomatic disaster when you can turn a James Bond film into a pun?

    But what about the World Cup?

    The real issue in all of this – at least for Daily Mail readers – is the World Cup. Will England still go? If we don’t, will our allies? Who cares about the health of the UK policeman who was exposed to the same chemical weapon that also left two Russian natives in a critical condition… it’s all about that little leather ball.

    Good news for football fans sick and tired of the whole pesky Russian spy thing… the Daily Mirror has ignored the biggest tidbit of international news completely. “Don’t sack Carra,” cries The Mirror.

    The paper decided to fob off the Russian-UK spat entirely to share a plea from the spitting victim’s family. They’re apparently begging to save the job of the very TV star who spat at a 14-year-old girl in a shocking road-rage incident.

    And yes, you read that correctly. The Mirror does actually think some football broadcaster is more important than peace in Europe.

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