Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Putin ‘ultimately’ to blame for Novichok poisoning: UK



Putin ‘ultimately’ to blame for Novichok poisoning: UK

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Alexander Petrov (right) and Ruslan Boshirov, at Salisbury train station in London on March 3, who are wanted by British police in connection with the nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia . AFp

Putin ‘ultimately’ to blame for Novichok poisoning: UK

BRITAIN said Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “ultimate” responsibility for a nerve agent attack on a former Russian double agent in England, as it prepared to brief the UN Security Council.

London has accused two members of Russian military intelligence of using Novichok to try to kill former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the southwestern city of Salisbury.

Security Minister Ben Wallace said Putin bore ultimate responsibility for the poisoning.

“Ultimately he does in so far as he is the president of the Russian Federation and it is his government that controls, funds and directs the military intelligence, the GRU, via his ministry of defence.”

He told BBC radio: “I don’t think anyone can ever say that Mr Putin isn’t in control of his state . . . And the GRU is without doubt not rogue.

“It is led, linked to both the senior members of the Russian general staff and the defence minister, and through that into the Kremlin and the president’s office.”

Britain has previously pointed the finger at Moscow for the March 4 attack, sparking furious denials.

In the aftermath, Britain and its allies expelled dozens of Russian diplomats, prompting Russian to respond in kind. The United States also imposed fresh sanctions over the attack.

Britain will brief the UN Security Council later Thursday on its latest findings, with the meeting due to open around 1530 GMT.

Moscow on Wednesday again denied involvement in the case, accusing Britain of “unfounded accusations”.

“Instead of conducting an independent, objective and transparent investigation . . . London continues to engage in anti-Russian megaphone diplomacy, continuing its propaganda show,” the foreign ministry said.

Cyber-war?

The US ambassador to London, Woody Johnson, and the Australian government have offered their support for Britain’s stance against Russia.

Wallace said his government would seek to “maintain the pressure” on Russia “to say that the behaviour we’ve seen is totally unacceptable”.

Options include “more sanctions – we are obviously taking it today to the UN to present our case”.

However he noted that Russia would be there and would likely use its veto on any statement that might arise.

Amid reports that Britain was planning a response in cyber-space, Wallace said the Russians were the main operators behind attacks on British networks.

“We retaliate in our way . . . within the rule of law and in a sophisticated way, that they know the cost of what they do,” he said.

The Skripals survived the poisoning but remnants of Novichok found in a fake perfume bottle were picked up by a local man weeks later.

Charlie Rowley gave it to his girlfriend, Dawn Sturgess, who later died.

British prosecutors said Wednesday they had enough evidence to charge the two men identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov with conspiracy to murder Skripal, attempted murder and the use of a banned chemical weapon.

They said they would not formally demand their extradition, as Russia does not extradite its citizens, but have obtained a European Arrest Warrant for the pair.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Cambodia, Vietnam agree to open more air links to tourism hotspots

    Cambodia and Vietnam have agreed to open more direct flights between the two countries, with special emphasis on connecting tourist hotspots and jumpstarting travel again. Likewise, both nations agreed to “make things easier” for arrivals from a third country, as permitted by current Covid-19 health