Russia’s defense ministry has fired back at remarks by UK defense secretary Williamson [Xinhua]
The Defense Ministry in Moscow has fired back at UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson characterizing him as having “an extreme degree of intellectual impotence” for saying Russia “should go away and shut up”.
On Thursday, Williamson made his statement during a press query about Russia’s response to allegations it was involved in the murder attempt of former spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England.
Skripal and his daughter were found slumped on a park bench on March 4, poisoned by a deadly nerve agent from a batch known as Novichok; they are in critical but stable condition.
On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said while Williamson’s remarks are considered hostile, he believes the UK secretary of defense to be a “nice young man. He probably wants to get a place in history by making bold statements.”
He added that Williamson probably lacks upbringing, but that Moscow was not offended by his remarks.
Earlier in the week, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said it was highly likely that Russia was behind the Skripal case and demanded a response from Moscow.
Since then, the two countries have engaged in a spat over the case, with Russia saying it had nothing to do with Skripal since he resided in the UK.
Moscow has demanded that London provide a sample of the nerve agent to be inspected under the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
Lavrov Calls For Joint Investigation
Russia also said it would expel 23 UK diplomats in a reciprocal measure to London’s announcement on Wednesday it would expel 23 Russian diplomatic staff.
London also said that it had suspensed all planned high level bilateral contacts and would implement a boycott by ministers and the royal family of the FIFA World Cup in Russia this coming June.
On Thursday, France, Germany and the US weighed in on Russia’s involvement in the Skripal case:
“We, the leaders of France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom, abhor the attack that took place against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, UK, on March 4, 2018,” a joint statement said.
But Russia says it does not possess the Novichok nerve agent having scrapped all chemical weapons programs of the defunct Soviet Union in 1992.
The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies