Tag Archives: Salisbury Attack

Three GRU officers under EU sanctions

The Council imposed  sanctions on nine persons and one entity under the new regime of restrictive measures against the use and proliferation of chemical weapons created on 15 October 2018.

These designations include the two GRU  officials, and the Head and Deputy Head of the GRU (also known as the G.U., or the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces) responsible for possession, transport and use in Salisbury (UK) of a toxic nerve agent on the weekend of 4 March 2018. Sanctions are also imposed on the Syrian entity responsible for the development and production of chemical weapons, the Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC), as well as five Syrian officials directly involved in the SSRC’s activities. These persons and entity are the first one being listed under the new chemical weapons sanctions regime. The SSRC was already listed under the Syria sanctions regime.

Sanctions consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed. This decision contributes to the EU’s efforts to counter the proliferation and use of chemical weapons which poses a serious threat to international security.

The legal acts, including the names of the persons concerned, are available in the EU Official Journal.

Russian tourists warned against visiting Stonehenge megaliths

Russians visiting the Stonehenge Megalithic monument in England risk drawing the attention of British secret services searching for evidence in relation to the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, since the famous site is located not far from the city of the Salisbury where the alleged poisoning took place, the Russian embassy in London said on Twitter.
Advice to Russian citizens: when planning trips to Stonehenge and Salisbury, consider the risk of unwittingly drawing attention of British secret services struggling to produce evidence of Russian involvement in the Skripal poisoning,” the tweet reads.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova suggested at a briefing this week that Russians visiting the Salisbury area should be cautions and carry the telephone numbers of Russian diplomatic missions in the United Kingdom.

Declared poisoned Skripals cat euthanized

All pets of  Skripals are dead, according to the information delivered to Russian consulate by the UK government, the AFP agency reports. The UK officials are claiming all animals died as a result of nerve agent poisoning, but one of the cats found at home was euthanized to “alleviate suffering”. However there is no evidence that there was an acute need to destroy the animal, while two victims of the incident have recovered, both Julia and policeman are doing well, according to the authorities statements. It is not clear why no chance was given to Skripals pet.

So far no single piece of evidence on Skripals case was shared with public, or Russian diplomatic instances. The entire volume of information is delivered by the UK officials as a narrative without any documented material. The European Union expulsion of Russian diplomats followed in a gesture of ‘solidarity’ with the UK based on Brussels Prime minister Theresa May six pages presentation (including the first page with the title). No photographs of Skipals have been released so far, neither Russian Consul got an opportunity to have an access to them to offer services in person.

Russia: UK is “beneficiary” of Skripals provocation

Moscow does not have any doubts the UK and the US took synchronized actions against Russia in the situation unfolding around the #Skripals poisoning case, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said, according to TASS News Agency.

“We realize the strength of the pressure that London and Washington and we don’t have any doubts now they synchronized their actions in the NATO and EU formats subjected their partners to,” she said. “We do understand how inhumane that pressure was, as they exploited the principles of solidarity and implementation of a unified foreign policy course” – Russian diplomat said.

London and Washington are the beneficiaries of this provocation, and the expulsion of diplomats that followed it,” Zakharova added.

 

Assange deprived of internet

Ecuador has deprived Julian Assange of internet connection at its embassy in London, preventing him from communicating with the outside world.

The action is taken to avoid the WikiLeaks founder from interfering in other countries’ affairs, Ecuador said.

The decision was triggered by  Mr Assange criticising the expel of Russian diplomats, based on allegations of Moscow being “highly likely” responsible for the poisoning of Russian double agent and his daughter in Salisbury.

n 2016, Ecuador briefly suspended Mr Assange’s internet connection after he published hacked emails from the campaign team of Hillary Clinton, a move seen as having an impact on the US presidential election campaign.

 

Russian non gratae diplomats leaving EU

In a wake of Skripals case, upon London request to the allies and partners to demonstrate solidarity over “highly likely” Moscow‘ attack on double agent in Salisbury, Russian diplomats were declared personae non grata and subsequently expelled from EU member-states. However the most of them had to leave the U.S. to further detriment of relations between Moscow and Washington, which already had hit the lowest since Cold War era.

The UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats and suspended all planned high-level bilateral contacts. In response, 23 British diplomats were expelled from Russia. In addition, Britain’s consulate in St. Petersburg was ordered to be closed and the British Council’s operations in Russia were recalled.

 

On March 26, the United States declared 60 Russian diplomats personae non gratae. Among them are 46 diplomats from the embassy in Washington, two from the consulate general in New York and 12 more from Russia’s mission to the United Nations.

Germany, Canada, Poland and France followed suit by expelling four Russian diplomats each. Lithuania, Moldova and the Czech Republic expelled three diplomats, while Australia, Albania, Denmark, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands – two. Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Macedonia, Norway, Romania, Finland, Croatia, Sweden and Estonia each ordered the expulsion of one. While, Ukraine made the decision to expel 13 Russian diplomats.

NATO reduced Russian mission from 30 to 20 staff. Bulgaria and Luxembourg recalled their envoys for consultations.

 

Russia blames NATO for expulsions of diplomats wave

NATO is behind the actions of the European Union, using baculine discipline and seeking to demonize Russia, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

The diplomat blamed expulsions of Russian baculine discipline in the European Union, imposed by NATO, while participating in Rossiya1 TV programme.

“The European Union is an attractive political construct, with the powerful North Atlantic Alliance being behind it.”

“The task was to demonize Russia and what we are witnessing now is part of a long-term program of unbridled Russophobia. It is a matter of not only Russia as a country, it is a matter of Russians and the Russian people,” Zakharova regretted.

 

Borissov reminds about Saddam’s ‘chemical weapons’ amid #Salisbury

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov is not sure Moscow was indeed behind Salisbury attack, and he ensured  that he his articulate with the other EU leaders.

“This is because we all trust the position of the UK. I told Theresa May my position. I reminded her that there was a time when Saddam Hussein was accused of having a chemical arsenal. Tony Blair later had to apologise but the consequences remain monstrous to this day. Maybe I’m one of the oldest, and I’m trying to think more in these terms. But there is a common position and we support it”, Borissov said, as quoted by EurActiv. 

“We find ourselves in times worse than the Cold War. During the Cold War, there were rules. Now I’m not optimistic for the peaceful future of the world,” Borissov added.

The “mass expulsion of diplomats” and the recall of the EU’s own ambassador from Moscow for consultations, would “hardly bring more peace, more calm and more understanding” – Borissov regretted.

“I expressed my views and asked for more information. ‘Highly likely’ is not ‘certainly,” he said and indicated that he expects a “rapid escalation” in the next days and weeks.

“Many countries will start recalling their ambassadors,” Borissov concluded, but ensured that Bulgaria had no intention to follow this way.

EU Ambassador to Moscow “recalled for consultations”

The European Council has requested High Representative Federica Mogherini to recall the Head of the EU Delegation in the Russian Federation Amb.Marcus Erler for consultations in Brussels. The Head of Delegation has been instructed accordingly by the High Representative and is expected to arrive in Brussels this weekend for consultations with her.

EU countries to react on Skirpals case on national level

During the EU Summit in Brussels  a number of European governments decided to support the decision of the UK  to expel Russian diplomats over #Skripals case. Baltic states, Poland and Denmark are prepared to follow the UK stance on Russia.

At the Summit, the European leaders agreed to “recall for consultations” the EU Ambassador from Moscow  – a tradition diplomatic measure of demonstrating the displeasure and disagreement. However German chancellor Angela Merkel underlined that it is important that EU members to conduct common policy towards Russia, but the same time continue dialogue with Moscow. At present there are governments who are prepared to align with the UK position on #SalisburyAttacks, and those who are requesting evidence of Russian involvement.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, chairing the EU rotating presidency, said he is not sure Moscow is behind the attack, while the UK government, describing  #Skripals incident of chemical weapons use on its territory, applied term “highly likely”.

The Council president Donald Tusk confirmed the EU agrees with the UK, that it is “highly likely” that Russia is behind the attack, because there is no other “plausible explanation” of #Skripals case.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said she was ready to expel Russian diplomats in solidarity gesture with the UK. “I think that national measures will be applied already starting from next week”,  Grybauskaite told reporters,  Baltic states, Poland and Denmark are prepared to follow the UK stance on Russia, expelling diplomats. “No space for Baroque diplomacy” – she tweeted on #Salisbury case.

French government spokesman said it was too early for Paris to decide on a response to #Salisbury incident and it would wait for “definitive conclusions” before adopting a position.

Russian Ambassador to London Alexander Yakovenko said, Moscow is willing to participate in an investigation, and is requesting an access to Julia Skripal, who is Russian citizen. “We want to know the truth” – Yakovenko said.