The bold accusation of Russia by UK PM Theresa May could have grave consequences for bilateral relations, even the severance of diplomatic ties, top officials warned, vowing Moscow will respond to any hostile actions.
Earlier on Monday, British PM Theresa May claimed, while addressing the British parliament, the “attempted murder” of former double agent Sergei Skripal was either “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.”
“There are few precedents of such political pressure and blackmail, and all of them ended in one fashion – severance of diplomatic ties or their downgrade in the form of a recall of ambassadors,” Russian Senator and intelligence veteran Igor Morozov said.
The accusations represent the “utmost disrespect” towards international law, since not even a trace of evidence, proof or fact was presented to link Skripal’s case to Russia, Morozov said. Russia will wait to see the actions of London and will respond accordingly, the official warned.
“The British must realize that they will face a very stiff response from Russia, and our position will be restrained and adequate, but bold. We will see what the London move will be and respond to this challenge,” Morozov added.
The head of the Federal Council committee tasked with protecting Russia’s sovereignty, Senator Andrey Klimov, said that the whole situation around Skripal’s case looks like a premeditated anti-Russia provocation. While the former double agent was of “no interest” to Russia, the incident is very convenient for foreign intelligence services, he stated.
“If the UK decides to expel Russian diplomats in connection with the Skripal case, Moscow’s response will be adequate and swift, this situation as a whole looks like a well thought-out anti-Russian move,” he said.
The provocation might be politically motivated, coming as it has shortly before the presidential elections in Russia, on March 18. “It’s a serious, real plot against our country, considering our political calendar,” Klimov said, not ruling out a possibility that the incident might also be used to disrupt the upcoming FIFA World Cup.
Senator Morozov, for his part, has favored the latter version in his assessment of the UK’s actions. “I am convinced that the goal of all this is to disrupt the 2018 FIFA World Cup. This is very similar to Great Britain’s boycott of the Olympics in Sochi,” Morozov said.
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