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Johnson: Russian retaliation to British measures is 'futile'

Europe
18.03.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
London (dpa) - Russia‘s tit-for-tat expulsion of 23 British diplomats is "futile," British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said, as the row over a nerve-agent attack on a former double agent on British soil continued.

The move, announced in Moscow on Saturday, came days after Britain‘s decision to expel the same number of Russian diplomats after a Russian-developed nerve agent was used to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

"These futile measures will only punish ordinary Russians by depriving them of harmless opportunities to learn English and apply for UK visas," the Press Association news agency quoted Johnson as writing in a Sunday opinion column for the Sun tabloid.

"Today Russia stands alone and isolated. That fact demonstrates the most telling difference between Britain and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin: we have friends across the world and he does not," Johnson continued.

Skripal, who was convicted in Russia of selling state secrets to Britain, and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in the southern city of Salisbury on March 4. Both remain in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

Johnson earlier told reporters that it was "overwhelmingly likely" that Putin himself had ordered the attack.

Moscow denies any involvement and has threatened to escalate its response should Britain impose any further sanctions.

 

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