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Kremlin: Johnson’s statement about 2018 FIFA World Cup unworthy of foreign minister

Kremlin: Johnson’s statement about 2018 FIFA World Cup unworthy of foreign minister

22 March 2018 | 13:19 | FOCUS News Agency
Moskow. The Kremlin has found insulting and disgusting British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson’s claim the forthcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia would be akin to the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany, TASS reported.
"It is an utterly disgusting statement. It is unworthy of a foreign minister of any country. It goes without saying that it is insulting and impermissible," Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media on Thursday.
British Prime Minister Theresa May earlier declared that no members of the British Cabinet or the royal family would visit the World Cup following the poisoning of former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 4. Speaking about the idea the English team might boycott the World Cup Johnson told the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, "On balance it would be wrong to punish the team who have worked on this for a long time incredibly hard, given up their lives to it, I think it would be a pity for them," he said.
Johnson agreed that the forthcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia would be allegedly akin to the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany.
Russia eleven cities will host FIFA World Cup finals on June 14 July 15. England is in group G together with Belgium, Panama and Tunisia.

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The Independent: Russia accused of building 'haystack of lies' over nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal as Nato and EU back UK

The Independent: Russia accused of building 'haystack of lies' over nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal as Nato and EU back UK

20 March 2018 | 04:08 | FOCUS News Agency
London. Vladimir Putin’s government is mounting a “haystack of lies” to cover its role in the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy, the Foreign Secretary has said, The Independent reported.
Boris Johnson hailed the “strength and resolve” of Britain’s allies after holding talks with Nato in Brussels.
It came as scientists from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) started tests on the substance used to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia, who remain in a critical condition in hospital.
Mr Johnson said the assassination attempt was “not an isolated case, but the latest in a pattern for reckless behaviour by the Russian state”.
Contrary to Russian allegations, he said the UK was acting in “punctilious accordance” with the Chemical Weapons Convention.
“In the meantime, Russian denials grow increasingly absurd,” Mr Johnson added. “At one time they say that they never made Novichok; at another time they say that they did make Novichok but all the stocks have been destroyed.
“Then again they say that they made Novichok, but all the stocks have been destroyed, but some of them have mysteriously escaped to Sweden or at the Czech Republic or Slovakia or the United States – or even – America, or the United Kingdom.
“I think what people can see is that this is a classic Russian strategy of trying to conceal the needle of truth in a haystack of lies and obfuscation.”
Johnson and Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on 19 March (AP)
Mr Johnson said that 12 years after the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko in London, “they are not fooling anybody anymore” and that many Nato members had been affected by “malign or disruptive Russian behaviour”.
Britain has already announced the expulsion of 23 Russian spies and is considering other measures, including using new “unexplained wealth orders” against targets.
Mr Putin dismissed claims of Russian involvement in the nerve agent attack as “nonsense“ as he was re-elected President, while his campaign team claimed the diplomatic row “mobilised the nation” in his support.
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The Independent: Russian spy latest: Britain to raise Sergei Skripal poisoning case with Nato allies

The Independent: Russian spy latest: Britain to raise Sergei Skripal poisoning case with Nato allies

11 March 2018 | 08:39 | FOCUS News Agency
London. Britain is to raise the Sergei Skripal poisoning case with its Nato allies, a defence minister has revealed, The Independent writes.

With military chemical weapons experts now investigating the suspected nerve agent attack and Home Secretary Amber Rudd chairing an emergency Cobra meeting on Saturday afternoon, Tobias Ellwood said the Government intended to discuss the case at Nato level.

“We mustn’t get ahead of ourselves, but we must have a robust response and it’s something that we’ll be discussing with our Nato partners,” the defence minister said.

“Some big questions arise, as to how do you stand up to a clandestine and sinister attack deliberately done to play havoc in our society?”

His firm line appeared to be backed by the security minister Ben Wallace, who mentioned Britain’s “powerful allies” as he said the Government was ready to respond with “the full force of the United Kingdom’s resources” once investigators had established who was behind the attack.

Mr Wallace told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Once we have established the facts and the attribution, the Government and law enforcement and others will respond appropriately.

“We will respond with the full force of the United Kingdom’s resources if that is the appropriate and proportionate thing to do.”

“There are lots of things that the United Kingdom can do,” Mr Wallace added. “It is a powerful country with a powerful economy, powerful allies, powerful military and powerful other capabilities – and we shall look at all those.”

After Saturday’s Cobra meeting, Ms Rudd revealed that the investigation of the suspected nerve agent attack on Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia had now become a massive operation involving more than 250 counter terrorism police officers.

Investigators have now identified over 240 witnesses and are looking at more than 200 pieces of evidence.

Mr Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter remain seriously ill in hospital. Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, one of the first to come to their assistance when they collapsed on Sunday, is also still in hospital.

He was, however, able to release a statement via Wiltshire Police on Saturday, saying he was not a hero and had only been doing his job.

The mention of Nato suggests a potential further hardening of Government attitudes towards Russia, from a point where tensions were already high even before the events in Salisbury.

On Monday, hours before it became clear that Mr Skripal had been poisoned, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson was telling MPs: “Vladimir Putin has made it quite clear that he has hostile intent towards this country. We have to wake up to that threat and we have to respond to it.”

If the investigation does prove Russian state involvement, the Government will face intense pressure to produce a strong response.

It has already been accused of emboldening Russia with a “weak” reaction to the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, who had radioactive polonium slipped into his tea at a London hotel in 2006.

In 2016 a public inquiry found there was a “strong probability” that Mr Litvinenko’s killers were acting on behalf of the Russian secret service in an operation “probably approved” by Mr Putin.

Theresa May, then the Home Secretary, told MPs she would be seeking European arrest warrants for the two suspected killers, and said there would be a Treasury freeze on the pair’s assets.
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The Independent: Sergei Skripal: Former double agent may have been poisoned with nerve agent over 'freelance' spying, sources say

The Independent: Sergei Skripal: Former double agent may have been poisoned with nerve agent over 'freelance' spying, sources say

9 March 2018 | 01:06 | FOCUS News Agency
London. The Russian double agent poisoned in Salisbury may have become a target after using his contacts in the intelligence community to work for private security firms, investigators believe, The Independent writes.

Sergei Skripal could have come to the attention of certain people in Russia by attempting to “freelance” for companies run by former MI5, MI6 and GCHQ spies, security sources say.

Mr Skripal, who remains in hospital in a critical condition alongside his daughter, Yulia, had kept in touch with members of the intelligence community, past and present. Investigators are examining whether he was using those contacts for work.

There are large numbers of private security firms in the UK which are actively involved, for commercial as well as state clients, in researching the activities of powerful individuals with links to the Kremlin power structure.

Sources close to Orbis, the business intelligence firm run by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, who was behind a dossier of compromising allegations against Donald Trump, said Mr Skripal did not contribute to the file. But they could not say whether Mr Skripal was involved in different investigations into the US President for other interested parties.

The developments came as Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey was named as the police officer who was also admitted to hospital after exposure to the nerve agent. A total of 21 people were affected by the poison, police said last night.
Security officials told The Independent that 66-year-old Mr Skripal was no longer an active MI6 asset and was not regarded as being under threat, meaning he was not given a new identity and lived openly under his own name.

Investigators are looking at the possibility that the attackers may have flown into Britain to carry out their mission and then left, possibly individually, afterwards. It is possible, say security sources, that the attack was carried out by ‘sleeper’ agents, but this is believed to be an unlikely scenario.
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