Moscow slams UK ‘Russophobia’ and ‘island mentality’ over spy attack

Poland’s Ambassador to Russia Wlodzimierz Marciniak arrives at the Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters to attend a meeting with the ministry’s experts on the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in an English city this month, Mar 21, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2018
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Moscow slams UK ‘Russophobia’ and ‘island mentality’ over spy attack

SALISBURY: Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have begun work at the scene of the nerve agent attack on former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in the English city of Salisbury, a Reuters photographer said.
The inspectors were seen arriving at the Mill pub in Salisbury where Skripal and his daughter Yulia had a drink on March 4.
The pair were later found unconscious on a bench outside The Maltings shopping center. They remain critically ill in hospital.

But a senior Foreign Ministry official indicated that Russia won’t recognize results of the OPCW investigation.
Vladimir Yermakov, deputy head of the Foreign Ministry’s department for non-proliferation, was asked during a briefing whether Moscow would accept the results of the OPCW probe.
Yermakov said that “unscrupulous efforts” to investigate the attack without sharing the case files with Moscow “is not going to work for us.”
Yermakov went on to slam Britain for refusing to cooperate in a probe into the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy on English soil, criticizing its “Russophobia” and “island mentality.”
“Pull yourselves away a little bit from your Russophobia, your island mentality,” Vladimir Yermakov, told a briefing of representatives of foreign diplomatic missions.

Britain said Wednesday that its ambassador in Moscow has snubbed the meeting.
The Kremlin slammed the absence of British ambassador Laurie Bristow, saying it showed London’s unwillingness to cooperate.
On Tuesday, Moscow had invited all ambassadors to Russia to a meeting with foreign ministry experts to hear its views on the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in an English city earlier this month. Several western diplomatic missions said their chiefs did not attend the meeting in solidarity with the UK.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has called for “transparency from Russia” over the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain.
Merkel emphasized Germany’s solidarity with Britain in a speech to lawmakers in Berlin on Wednesday. She said that “a lot of evidence points to Russia and so transparency from Russia is required to quell the suspicion.”
Merkel added: “I would be happy if I didn’t have to name Russia here, but we can’t disregard evidence because we don’t want to name Russia.”


Philippine president wants to end anti-drug war in three years

Updated 44 min 44 sec ago
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Philippine president wants to end anti-drug war in three years

  • Philippines being investigated for extrajudicial killings
  • Anti-drug campaign signature policy of president

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he wanted to finish his war on drugs in three years, defying an international probe into his controversial and deadly campaign to rid the country of narcotics.
Duterte, who came to power in 2016, has made a ‘war on drugs’ the hallmark of his administration. 
But it has been reported that 20,000 people have been killed in what rights groups call a wave of “state-sanctioned violence.”
The firebrand president remains unfazed by the condemnation, and the cases filed against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his crackdown.
He insisted he would assume full responsibility for any consequences due to his decision to enforce the law, telling a military audience his goals.
“I’d like to finish this war, both (with the) Abu Sayyaf (a militant group) and also the communists, and the drug problem in about three years … we'd be able (to) ... reduce the activities of the illegal trade and fighting to the barest minimum.
“I’m not saying I am the only one capable (of achieving these goals) ... I assume full responsibility for all that would happen as a consequence of enforcing the law — whether against the criminals, the drug traffickers or the rebels who’d want to destroy government.”
Earlier this month, the Philippines withdrew from the ICC, citing the global body's interference in how the country was run as the reason.
On Tuesday, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that investigations into alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines would continue despite its exit.
But the government has said it will not cooperate with the ICC, and has even warned its personnel about entering the country for the investigation.
There are Filipinos who support Duterte’s campaign, however, and believe it works. Among them is former policeman Eric Advincula.
He said there had been an improvement in the situation since Duterte came to power. 
“For one, the peace and order situation has improved, like for example in villages near our place where there used to be rampant drug peddling,” he told Arab News. 
“The price of illegal drugs is now higher, an indication that the supply also went down. Also, it was easy to catch drug peddlers before because they were doing their trade openly. But now they are more careful, you can't easily locate them.”
Official data from the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in February indicated that 5,176 ‘drug personalities’ were killed in the anti-drugs war between July 1, 2016 to Jan. 31, 2019.
More than 170,000 drug suspects have been arrested during a total of 119,841 anti-narcotics operations in the last two and a half years.