Allied against Russia

Allied against Russia
In the aftermath of the nerve agent attack, UK’s European allies along with the United States have come together to expel over 100 Russian diplomats. The response has come from..

In the aftermath of the nerve agent attack, UK’s European allies along with the United States have come together to expel over 100 Russian diplomats. The response has come from over 20 Western allies.

Background

On March 2017, Sergei Viktorovich Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer turned spy for Britain′s intelligence services, was attacked. He and his daughter were found unconscious after falling victims to a poison attack. It was later revealed that they were attacked by a nerve agent. Skripal and his daughter, Yulia were poisoned and both were hospitalized, critically ill. In addition, three police officers who responded to the crime scene also required treatment for breathing difficulties.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has stated that since the origin of the nerve agent is from Russia, it is highly likely that the Kremlin was behind the attack. She said that the spy had been attacked by a “military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia” and called it a “brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil”.

“This attempted murder, using a weapons-grade nerve agent in a British town, was not just a crime against the Skripals. It was an indiscriminate and reckless act against the United Kingdom, putting the lives of innocent civilians at risk. And we will not tolerate such a brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil.”

Analysis

The nerve agent attack has been considered the first ever of its kind in Europe since World War II. In its immediate aftermath UK Prime Minister took a staunch stance against the attack, and moved to expel 23 Russian diplomats from the United Kingdom. In addition, she also released a joint statement against the Kremlin along with the leaders of USA, France and Germany.

Since then, in a coordinated response, UK’s European allies along with the United States have expelled over a hundred Russian diplomats. The response has come from over 20 Western allies. In a statement UK Prime Minister Theresa May noted, “I have found great solidarity from our friends and partners in the EU, North America, NATO and beyond over the past three weeks as we have confronted the aftermath of the Salisbury incident. And together we have sent a message that we will not tolerate Russia’s continued attempts to flout international law and undermine our values.” She added: “If the Kremlin’s goal is to divide and intimidate the western alliance, then their efforts have spectacularly backfired.”

Russia deemed the move provocative and said, “The provocative gesture of the so-called solidarity of these countries with London, which blindly followed the British authorities in the so-called Skripal case and which never got around to sort out the circumstances of the incident, is a continuation of the confrontational policy to escalate the situation.”

Response by EU members:

Germany, France, & Poland: These nations are expelling four Russian diplomats. These are diplomats who also have a background in intelligence.

Lithuania and the Czech Republic: These two countries are expelling three diplomats each.

Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands: They would expel two diplomats each.

Estonia, Latvia, Croatia, Finland, Hungary, Sweden and Romania: Expelling one Russian diplomat from their nations.

Iceland: Will not send across any officials to the World Cup that is being held in Russia. 

In addition, the US will be expelling 60 Russian diplomats and Canada is expelling four. Australia has also moved to expel two diplomats.

Mark Simakovsky, a former Russia desk director at the Pentagon said, “Most Russian intelligence operations are not being done by agents acting under cover of diplomatic protocols. Most likely, the poisoning of the Skripals was not done by anyone in an embassy or consulate.”

Assessment

Our assessment is that there is increased concern over the threat posed by Russia on western liberal democracy and the Brentwood World Order. They are increasingly convinced that the Kremlin has the ability to interfere in their elections and conduct covert assassinations in foreign soil when necessary. For its part the Russian government has maintained that it is not involved in the nerve agent attack. We believe that the response by the West was concerted and beyond the expectations of the Russians.

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