Tensions between the two nations are reaching boiling point as the Kremlin reacted this morning to the latest from London.
Theresa May has this afternoon imposed harsh retaliatory measures on Russia, including the expulsion of 23 high-level ‘diplomats’, which the Prime Minister said were in reality “undeclared intelligence officers”.The move marks the biggest such dismissal in more than 30 years.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov this morning reiterated Moscow’s claim the Kremlin had “no connection” to the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury and issued a stark warning to the UK.
Russian news agency Tass quoted Mr Peskov as saying: “Moscow’s stance is well-known, London was told about Moscow’s position through diplomatic channels. Moscow has no connection to the incident that took place in the United Kingdom.
“Moscow won’t accept absolutely unfounded accusations against it, which are not substantiated by any evidence, and won’t accept the language of ultimatum.”
Also speaking this morning, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov insisted Russia had “no motive” to want Mr Skripal dead and branded the UK’s accusations “not robust and not serious”.
He went on to claim the accusations levelled against Moscow were part of a “Russophobic campaign”.
In response to retaliatory measures announced by Mrs May this afternoon, the Russian embassy in London branded the expulsion of its diplomats as “hostile action” which is “totally unacceptable, unjustified and shortsighted”.
The embassy placed the blame for the rapid breakdown in UK-Russian relations squarely at the feet of the British Government.
Earlier this morning, a Kremlin spokesman insisted “common sense” proved there was no Kremlin connection to the attempted murder.The spokesman added: “Any unlawful British actions against Russian media will result in a Russian response.”
When probed on when a response might come, the spokesman said it was too early to say what the Russia reaction might be.