Russia mocks Theresa May over poison attack and summons UK ambassador to Kremlin
Russia has mocked Theresa May after she claimed Moscow was "highly likely" to be behind the nerve agent attack on a former spy.
In a further ratcheting up of tensions, the Russian government has also summoned the British ambassador to the Kremlin for crunch talks.
The Prime Minister yesterday pointed the finger at the Putin regime for the potentially-deadly attack that hospitalised ex-spy Sergei Skripal, his daugher Yulia and Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey.
She said that given "Russia’s record of conducting 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".
But the Russian foreign ministry took to Twitter to make light of the charge as the nation denied it played any part in the incident.
It posted a video with the hashtag #HighlyLikelyRussia suggesting Russia was blamed for the snow and storms that hit the UK last week as cold weather blew in from the east.
The video closed with pictures of a penguin waddling on snow and the caption: “At least penguin enjoys it.”
The tweet read: “Sincere thanks to Mrs May for #HighlyLikelyRussia.”
Russian state media, meanwhile, reported that the British ambassador to Moscow Laurie Bristow had been summoned to the foreign ministry over the case.
It comes after Mrs May gave the Russian ambassador to London until midnight tonight to present at the Foreign Office and explain the attack.
She told MPs yesterday: “Should there be no credible response [from Russia], we will conclude that this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom.”
Such a conclusion would allow the UK to invoke Article 51 of the UN charter allowing for legitimate self-defence.
Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said his nation was “not to blame” for the poisoning.
He also said Russia had demanded a sample of the nerve agent used in the attack but had been rebuffed.
And a Russian Embassy press spokesperson said: “Current policy of the UK Government towards Russia is a very dangerous game played with the British public opinion.
"[It] not only sends the investigation upon an unhelpful political track but also bears the risk of more serious long-term consequences for our relations.”
UK RESPONSE TOMORROW
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said today: "What we’re doing today is giving Russia until midnight tonight to explain how it came to be that novichok was used on the streets of Wiltshire.
"If they can come up with a convincing explanation then obviously we will want to see full disclosure of that to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the Hague.
"If not, then clearly we will want to be announcing the UK response and that will come tomorrow."
And he added: "The use of this nerve agent would represent the first use of nerve agents on the continent of Europe since the Second World War."