Theresa May says UK open to a 'different relationship' with Russia
Britain could be open to a “different relationship” with Russia after years of tension, Theresa May will say today.
Relations with Moscow hit a new low this year in the wake of the Salisbury poisonings against former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
Russia was also been blamed for the death of 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess who fell ill along with her partner Charlie Rowley after coming into contact with the discarded nerve agent in Amesbury.
The Prime Minister will use her traditional address to the Lord Mayor’s banquet on Monday to laud the collective action taken by the UK and its allies to “fundamentally” undermine Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, in the wake of those attacks.
“Together with our allies, in response to the attack in Salisbury, we coordinated the largest ever collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers, fundamentally degrading Russian intelligence capability for years to come,” she will say.
“And our law enforcement agencies, through painstaking investigations and cooperation with our allies, produced the irrefutable evidence that enabled our Crown Prosecution Service to bring charges against those responsible.
“In these actions, we have seen the impact of international unity and a collective response to these threats. We have shown that while the challenge is real, so is the collective resolve of like-minded partners to defend our values, our democracies and our people.”
But Mrs May will insist that Britain is “open” to friendlier relations with Moscow if it stops actions which “undermine international treaties and international security”.
She will say: “We remain open to a different relationship - one where Russia desists from these attacks that undermine international treaties and international security - and instead acts together with us to fulfil the common responsibilities we share as permanent members of the UN Security Council.
“And we hope that the Russian state chooses to take this path. If it does, we will respond in kind.”