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UK PM to set out measures against Russia over spy poisoning

Press Trust of India  |  London 

British is likely to announce a range of measures against today over the of a former Russian with a deadly in England this month.

The British will a meeting of the UK's (NSC) to lay out her proposals before announcing them in the later today.

Moscow, which had been given an ultimatum to provide a "credible response" over how a Russian-made came to be used on British soil, has warned of "an equal and opposite reaction" against any UK reprisals.

The set of measures are expected to cover the expulsion of Russian diplomats, financial sanctions against wealthy Russians with links to the Kremlin, possible curbs on the Russia's state-funded television station RT, and boycotting the World Cup in later this year.

The reprisals will follow days of diplomacy since first informed Parliament that there was enough evidence to conclude that it is "highly likely" that is behind the of 66-year-old former Russian double agent and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 4.

Russia's record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations; and our assessment that views some defectors as legitimate targets for assassinations; the has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal, she had said.

"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, she added, giving a Tuesday midnight deadline to respond on the circumstances surrounding the attack.

US Donald Trump, as well as (NATO) and (EU) allies including Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, have since come out in support of the UK and offered support.

Downing Street said the British received the backing of Trump, who agreed in a phone call that "must provide unambiguous answers as to how this came to be used".

A added that France's and German had also condemned the attack and offered support to the UK, as well as Estonia, and the bordering Russia.

Russia, however, has insisted that it is being blamed unfairly, with the in the UK tweeting that the ambassador, who had been summoned to the (FCO) for an explanation, had branded the actions of the UK authorities as a clear provocation.

Russian accused Britain of "playing politics" and ignoring an international agreement on He said Moscow would cooperate if it received a formal request for clarification from the UK under the Convention, which sets a 10-day time limit for a response.

UK has said if the attack was shown to be a "direct act" by the Russian state it would be a "clear violation of the convention, a breach of international law and a threat to those who abide by the rules-based international order".

FCO is also set to brief a session of the North Atlantic Council, NATO's political decision-making body, on the Skripal incident later.

In her Commons statement earlier this week, May made a specific reference to the use of radiological substances in the "barbaric assault" on Alexander Litvenenko another Russian murdered 11 years ago in

Following Litvinenko's death, the UK had expelled Russian diplomats, suspended security cooperation, broke off bilateral plans on visas, froze the assets of the suspects and put them on international extradition lists.

May told Parliament that while those measures remain in place, "we must now stand ready to take much more extensive measures.

Meanwhile, Skripal, and his daughter remain critically ill in hospital. A former Russian military colonel, Skripal was convicted of treason in 2006 and jailed for 13 years for selling secrets to MI6, which had recruited him in the 1990s.

The with Russian military intelligence GRU, was pardoned in a swap in 2010 and settled in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

A week after he and his daughter were found collapsed on a bench of a shopping centre in the city, Britain' s public health authorities had asked hundreds of people who were at a restaurant and pub linked with the of the Russian spy to clean up their possessions to remove any traces of the deadly nerve agent.

The poison used in the attack has been identified as belonging to a group of known as Novichok', which means newcomer and was used by the during the Cold War era in 1970s and 1980s.

Like most nerve agents, it has the effect of blocking messages from the nerves to the muscles in the body, which leads to a collapse of body functions and ultimately death by asphyxiation.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 14 2018. 18:25 IST