Theresa May Formally Accuses Russia Of 'Attempted Assassination' On British Soil
Prime Minister accuses Russia of attack on British soil
The UK's Prime Minister Theresa May has formally accused Russia of orchestrating the attempted assassination of the former spy and MI6 double agent, Sergei Skripa, who was poisoned along with his daughter with a Soviet-era nerve agent in Salisbury.
The former spy was granted refuge in the UK eight years ago following a 'spy swap' between the United States and Russia.
In a statement to statement to Parliament on Monday afternoon, May firmly pointed the finger at Russia accusing it of either ordering the attack or lost control of whoever carried it out.
"Based on Russia's record of doing state-sponsored assassinations and our assessment that Russia views some defectors as legitimate targets for assassinations, the government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal," she said.
"Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of its potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others."
The accusation of the anti-Russian campaign
The Russian embassy in London said: "Media reports create an impression of a planned operation by the Russian special services, which is completely untrue."
They added that the comments from Johnson "Looks like the script of yet another anti-Russian campaign has been already written."
Citing UK government scientists, May named the chemical compound used in the attack as Novichok, a family of deadly poisons developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Business Insider reports: Her statement came after a National Security Council meeting where she took evidence from the UK's three main intelligence agencies, MI5, MI6, and GCHQ.
May gave Russia a deadline of late Tuesday by which to offer a "credible response" to her statement. She said if it did not, she would conclude that the attack was "an unlawful use of force by the Russian State against the United Kingdom."
Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, collapsed in a shopping centre in Salisbury, England, on March 4 after being poisoned with nerve agent. They remain in critical condition.
Skripal is a double agent who passed Russian state secrets to British intelligence in the 1990s and early 2000s.
He was pardoned and sent to the UK as part of a spy swap in 2010, in which Russia released four agents to the US and the UK in exchange for 10 Russian agents in the US.
A spokeswoman for Russia's Foreign Ministry described May's announcement as a "fairy tale," according to a tweet by BBC Monitoring, which watches and translates foreign media.