Hatim Khan – 15.03.2018 - Theresa May has announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats “who have been declared as undocumented Russian intelligence officers” yesterday. This comes in response to Russian administration failing to comply with the British ultimatum to reply to how an ex Russian agent who remains in critical condition was poisoned in United Kingdom with a nerve agent developed in Russia. Russia who denied the accusation of any involvement with the “Salisbury poisoning” incident has vowed to respond as soon as possible and in the most appropriate way. Speculations say that Russia might also expel British diplomats in retaliation. A statement released by the Russian embassy said, “Obviously, by investigating this incident in a unilateral, non-transparent way, the British Government is again seeking to launch a groundless anti-Russian campaign”.
Theresa May has also said that Russian state assets will be frozen wherever they are found to be used against British nationals and citizens. A British minister also said that visa bans against Russian individuals as well as economic sanctions shall be put in place. May has also confirmed that none of the British Ministers or members from the British Royal family will attend FIFA world cup that is to be held in Russia this summer.
There is also an ongoing speculation that the English football team might be boycotting the World Cup however nothing has been officially announced yet with the English Football Association’s spokesperson saying that “The FA will continue to work closely with the UK Government and relevant authorities regarding our participation in this summer’s FIFA World Cup” in a tweet yesterday.
Sergei Stepashin, the former Prime Minister of Russia has accused the British intelligence agency to have carried out the Salisbury poisoning in an effort to hinder the chances of Vladimir Putin ahead of the Russian presidential elections on Sunday by undermining him. He further said that this could also be a way to sabotage the World Cup to be held in Russia.