The deadline set by the UK authorities for Moscow to clarify how a Russian-made nerve agent was used to poison a former double agent has now handed.
Focus now shifts to what steps Theresa Might will take in opposition to Russia following the assault on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.
Russia denies involvement of their poisoning and has demanded entry to a pattern of the substance used.
It stated the UK’s menace of “punitive” measures would “meet with a response”.
Downing Road says the prime minister has acquired the backing of US President Donald Trump, who agreed in a telephone name that Moscow “should present unambiguous solutions as to how this nerve agent got here for use”.
A spokesman additionally stated France’s President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in addition to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – Baltic states bordering Russia – have all condemned the assault and provided assist to the UK.
Overseas Secretary Boris Johnson stated if the assault was proven to be a “direct act” by the Russian state it might be a “clear violation of the chemical weapons conference, a breach of worldwide legislation and a menace to those that abide by the rules-based worldwide order”.
The Overseas Workplace is about to transient a session of the North Atlantic Council – Nato’s political decision-making physique – on the Skripal incident later.
The UK authorities has not publicly disclosed the measures it’s contemplating in opposition to Moscow.
However forward of the expiry of the deadline, Russia’s UK embassy posted a series of tweets saying it might not concern a response with out being given entry to samples of the nerve agent.
It additionally contended worldwide obligations required a joint investigation happen into the incident.
One other tweet stated it had sought an “clarification” from the Overseas Workplace, amid hypothesis the UK might mount a cyber-attack, because it “takes a critical view on cyber safety breaches”.
Moscow has already threatened to expel British media retailers from Russia if the Kremlin-funded TV channel RT is stripped of its licence to broadcast within the UK.
How might the UK retaliate in opposition to Russia?
Britain might expel Russian diplomats, because it did after the poisoning of former Russian Federal Safety Service operative Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 with radioactive polonium.
However the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent James Landale says many argue that this, and the opposite measures that had been taken after that killing, didn’t go far sufficient, and subsequently the Skripal response is prone to be far more strong.
So what else might the UK do?
Different attainable actions might embrace:
- Freezing monetary belongings
- Bans on visas
- Boycotting the Fifa World Cup in Russia later this 12 months
- Taking Russian broadcasters comparable to RT (previously Russia At present) off the air within the UK
The actions introduced on Wednesday are anticipated to be these that may be taken unilaterally by the UK – something co-ordinated with different nations is prone to come later.
Mrs Might has stated a military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia – a part of a group of nerve agents known as Novichok – was used on four March and it was therefore “highly likely” Russia was involved in the attack.
On Tuesday, police stated former double agent Mr Skripal and his daughter remained critically ailing in hospital after being discovered slumped on a park bench within the centre of Salisbury.
Det Sgt Nick Bailey, who fell ailing responding to the incident, is in a critical however secure situation, and is regarded as bettering.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu stated 35 different folks had been seen in hospital, of whom 34 had been assessed and discharged, whereas the situation of 1 particular person is being monitored as an outpatient.
He appealed for witnesses who noticed the Sergei and Yulia Skripal of their Purple BMW automotive – registration plate HD09 WAO – between 13:00 and 13.45 GMT on the day of the poisoning.
The automotive was left in Sainsbury’s higher stage automotive park within the Maltings purchasing space earlier than the pair went to the Bishops Mill Pub after which the restaurant Zizzi.
Police confirmed that Mr Skripal, who got here to the UK in 2010 as a part of a “spy swap” after he had been convicted by Russia of passing data to MI6, was a British citizen.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, it was revealed that UK counter-terror police are leading an investigation into the “unexplained” death of another Russian exile, believed to be Nikolai Glushkov.
Officers say there isn’t a proof linking the dying to the Salisbury assault.