OSNepal, Kathmandu, 13th March: British Prime Minister Theresa May has blamed Moscow for the poisoning of a former Russian-British double agent in the UK and given Russia 24 hours to explain the incident, officially escalating a crisis point in bilateral relations. Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, UK time, Ms May said “It is now clear that Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. The government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday insisted that Moscow is not to blame for the poisoning and said it was ready to cooperate with London. “Russia is not guilty. Russia is ready to cooperate according to the Chemical Weapons Convention, if Britain takes the trouble and condescends to carry out its international obligations according to the same document,” Lavrov said at a press conference.
Russian security expert Dr Alexey Muraviev from Curtin University said that while London and Moscow have a long shared history of espionage incidents and spy intrigue, this one was different because innocent civilians were also hurt.Mr Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence official who was recruited as a double agent for the British in the 1990s, was admitted to hospital along with his daughter after being exposed to the nerve agent on 4 March, in Salisbury, a town south-west of London. They remain in a critical condition. By the end of last week, 21 people had been treated for exposure to the poison.
What about the World Cup?
Then there’s the option of England boycotting the World Cup in Russia in June if the operation is deemed to have been sanctioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin.UK foreign minister Boris Johnson first raised this notion last week, before officials wound it back, saying he was calling for a boycott of UK officials, not players and coaches. Meanwhile, the British tabloids have since claimed Prince William would not attend the event. agency