Theresa May 'preparing to accuse Russia' of nerve agent attack on former spy

Posted On: 
12th March 2018

Theresa May is preparing to publicly blame Russia for the nerve agent attack that landed an ex-spy, his daughter and a police officer in hospital, according to reports.

Theresa May has so far been reluctant to accuse Russia of the attack
PA Images

Intelligence chiefs believe they have compiled enough evidence to prove Vladimir Putin's regime was behind the poisoning of ex-double agent Sergei Skripal, according to the Sun.

A report prepared for the Prime Minister says the nerve agent used in the attack was developed at the notorious Yasenevo lab of the SVR Russian foreign spy service, the paper says.

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Mrs May is expected to chair an emergency meeting of the National Security Council this morning to discuss how Britain should now respond. She could also update MPs in an emergency Commons statement this afternoon.

Previous reports have detailed the “full spectrum” response the Government is planning if it is confirmed beyond doubt that the Kremlin was behind the attack.

It includes expelling top diplomats and spies, issuing a joint statement of condemnation with key UK allies and boosting UK military deployments in Eastern Europe.

One Government source told the Times that ministers were preparing to take a “hard line on early action”.

Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain in a serious condition in hospital following the attack. Police officer Det Sgt Nick Bailey is still in hospital but is said to be recovering. 

Chancellor Philip Hammond told the BBC: “If there were to be an involvement of a foreign state, then obviously that would be very serious indeed and the government would respond appropriately.”

Reports yesterday suggested Cabinet ministers thought Mrs May had not been bold enough in accusing Russia of being behind the attack.