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Russia to Britain: ‘don’t give 24 hour ultimatums to a nuclear power’

Russia sends formal note to Britain denying involvement in Skripal attack; threatens countermeasures

Spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova gestures as she attends a news briefing in Moscow, Russia, October 6, 2015. Russia strongly rebuffed U.S. criticism of its air strikes in Syria on Tuesday, reminding Washington how it had supported the United States in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on New York in 2001. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov - RTS38RB

Hours following Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov’s public rejection of Theresa May’s ultimatum, the Russian embassy in London has sent the British Foreign Office a formal note denying Russian involvement in the Skripal attack.

In the meantime there have been a stream of warnings from Moscow.

Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, has warned that if the British regulator Ofcom withdraws RT’s British broadcasting licence – as it is apparently threatening to do – then Russia will retaliate by throwing out of Russia every British media outlet working in Russia

I can tell you right now that not a single British media outlet will be working in our country if they shut RT down

Zakharova has also warned the British of the unwisdom of giving 24 hour ultimatums to Russia – a nuclear power – and has waspishly and almost certainly rightly said that Theresa May is simply not in possession of the full facts about the Skripal case

Bearing in mind what the president [of Russia Vladimir Putin] said [in his State-of-the-Nation Address], no one can appear in his or her country’s parliament to say ‘I give Russia 24 hours……No one knows anything, including Theresa May, who has no actual fact in her hands

Meanwhile the Russian embassy in London has also warned the British government against launching any cyberattacks against Russia

Meanwhile the Russians have also been accusing the British of ignoring the Chemical Weapons Convention, which they say stipulates joint investigations of incidents like the Skripal attack

The British have responded that there is no legal obligation to conduct a joint investigation, though they admit that parties to the Convention are expected to consult with each other.

All I will say about that is that irrespective of who is right about this specific point, the British should certainly be at least sharing with the Russians some of the information they say they have which they claim points to Russia’s guilt.  Instead they are refusing to provide the Russians with any evidence at all.

Meanwhile the British for their part have been trying to drum up support from their allies.  Theresa May has spoken to Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron and is due to speak shortly to Donald Trump.  According to the British they are being promised “full support”.

Whilst that may be true, I have to say that the public statements coming from Britain’s allies have so far not been exactly fulsome.  By way of example, Donald Trump has been busy tweeting all day about the sacking of Tillerson and about other matters, but has yet to tweet his support for Britain over the Skripal case.

Doubtless we will hear more publicly expressed words of support from Britain’s allies tomorrow, but if the US for one in the end balked at imposing further significant sanctions on Russia in relation to Russia’s alleged meddling in the US election, then I for one find it difficult to believe that it will impose further significant sanctions on Russia because of the attempted murder of an ex British spy in Britain.

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Hillary Clinton: Blame the men!

Lavrov: “I simply don’t have any normal terms left to describe all this.”