Foreign secretary’s remarks precede Trump sacking of Tillerson, who had criticised Moscow
The UK has been encouraged by the “strength of support” from allies to take action against Russia after the nerve agent attack on a former spy and his daughter, Boris Johnson said just hours before the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was sacked by Donald Trump.
Tillerson, who spoke to the foreign secretary on Monday afternoon, had told reporters the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal “clearly came from Russia” and would have consequences.
His remarks went further than those of Theresa May, who told the House of Commons on Monday it was “highly likely” Russia was behind the attack. The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, had stopped short of pointing the finger at Russia.
Never mind ‘Corbyn the spy’, our governing party pockets millions from regimes that back extremism – and gets away with it
The Conservative party is in the pocket of foreign powers that represent a threat to the national security of Britain. It is a grotesquely under-reported national scandal, lost amid a hysterical Tory campaign to delegitimise the Labour party with false allegations of treason. If Labour had received £820,000 from Russian-linked oligarchs and companies in the past 20 months – and indeed £3m since 2010 – the media outrage would be deafening. But this is the Tory party, so there are no cries of treachery, of being in league with a hostile foreign power, of threatening the nation’s security.
When questioned about the Russian donations to the Tory party, the chancellor, Philip Hammond, pointedly refused to return the money. “There are people in this country who are British citizens, who are of Russian origin,” he protested. “I don’t think we should taint them, or should tar them, with Putin’s brush.” How noble: a Tory challenging the demonisation of migrants.
Embassy issues provocative tweet as Cobra meeting hears that case involves 250 counter-terror police and 200 witnesses
Russia stepped up its war of words with Britain on Saturday as its embassy in London linked the attempted murder of double agent Sergei Skripal to the deaths of three exiled enemies of the Kremlin.
The provocative move came as the home secretary, Amber Rudd, chaired a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee into how the investigation into the attack on Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, was progressing.
Hundreds of troops arrive on streets and experts in hazmat suits work near grave of Sergei Skripal’s wife
Almost 200 members of the armed forces arrived on the streets of Salisbury on Friday to support police investigating the nerve agent attack on a Russian former spy and his daughter, as attention focused on the cemetery where the remains of Sergei Skripal’s wife and and son lie.
In extraordinary scenes at the city’s London Road cemetery that indicated the investigation was gathering pace, experts in full hazmat suits helped set up tents over the grave of Liudmila Skripal and the memorial of Alexander Skripal, who both died in recent years.