UK embassy accuses Russia of ‘disinformation’ over Skripals

In this file photo, members of the emergency services fix the tent over the bench where a man and a woman were found on in critical condition at The Maltings shopping center in Salisbury, southern England. (AFP)
Updated 07 September 2018
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UK embassy accuses Russia of ‘disinformation’ over Skripals

MOSCOW: The British embassy in Moscow on Friday accused Russia of spreading “disinformation” after London charged two Russian citizens with the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK.
The UK this week identified the men as Russian intelligence officers and said President Vladimir Putin was “ultimately” responsible for the March attack.
Moscow said pointing the finger at the Kremlin was “unacceptable.”
“Russia is distracting from the facts,” the UK embassy said on Twitter, after ambassador Laurie Bristow held a briefing on the case for foreign diplomats in the country.
The embassy accused Russia of spreading “37 disinformation narratives since March.”
On Wednesday Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova questioned the authenticity of CCTV photographs which the UK police released of the suspects, implying it was suspicious that the time on the photographs was identical.
“Maria Zakharova asked why the times on two CCTV images were the same: these were images of the suspects arriving in the UK taken from two cameras covering separate lanes at international arrivals,” the embassy tweeted.
The “operation (was) almost certainly approved at senior levels of (the) Russian state,” it said.
But the embassy added that “UK concerns are with the Russian state, not the Russian people.”
Britain has previously accused Russia of orchestrating the attack, but Moscow denies any involvement and insists it is ready to cooperate on an investigation.


PM Khan launches scathing attack on Trump after his “tirade”

Updated 6 min 3 sec ago
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PM Khan launches scathing attack on Trump after his “tirade”

  • Says US needs to stop making Pakistan a “scapegoat” for its failures
  • Insists Islamabad spent $123bn in war on terror compared to $20bn aid provided by Washington

ISLAMABAD: A day after US President Donald Trump claimed that Pakistan does not do “a damn thing” for Washington, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday took to Twitter to set the record straight by telling him to quit using Islamabad as a “scapegoat” in his “tirade” against the country.
In a four-point tweet, Khan explained why Trump’s comments were unjustified, reasoning that “No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 but Pakistan decided to participate in the US war on terror” nevertheless.
He added that while Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in the war and incurred losses of more than  $123 billion to the economy, the aid provided by the US was “a minuscule $20 billion”.
Elaborating on the catastrophic effect that the war on terror had on Pakistan’s tribal region and on the lives of its ordinary citizens, he said: “Our tribal areas were devastated and millions of people uprooted from their homes. The war drastically impacted the lives of ordinary Pakistanis.”
In his concluding remarks PM Khan said that instead of making “Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures, the US should do a serious assessment of why, despite 1,40,000 NATO troops plus 250,000 Afghan troops and reportedly $1 trillion spent on the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before.”
He ended his statement by asking Trump is he could “name another ally that gave such sacrifices”.
In an interview with Fox News aired on November 18, Trump justified the cancelation of $300 million in military aid to Pakistan by saying that “We’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them $1.3 billion a year — which we don’t give them any more, by the way, I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”
Talking about slain Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden who was found hiding in Pakistan, a short distance away from the country’s prestigious military academy, Trump added that “everybody in Pakistan knew he was there”.
Federal Minister for Human Rights, Dr. Shireen Mazari, issued a statement on Monday terming “Trump’s tirade against Pakistan” a lesson for all those Pakistani leaders “who kept appeasing the US especially after 9/11!”
She added that the “loss of Pakistani lives in the US war on terror, the free space for Raymond Davis and other operatives, the illegal killings by drone attacks — the list is endless…once again history shows appeasement does not work”.
“Whether China or Iran, the US policies of containment and isolation do not coincide with Pakistan’s strategic interests,” she said.
Former Senate Chairman, Raza Rabbani, termed Trump’s remarks “contrary to the facts” and reminded the US president that his “language regarding a sovereign state was aggressive”.
“He should be careful; Pakistan is not a state or colony of the US,” Rabbani said, further reminding Trump that “the US killed Pakistanis in unauthorized drone attacks, the US-sponsored terrorism in Kabul, and a drug industry was created on the Pak-Afghan border for the financial assistance of the US”.
“The Pakistani nation is paying the price of political and economic instability due to its alliance with the US,” he said.
Former Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif, also took to Twitter to rebuff the US president’s remarks saying, “We continue to pay in blood for what we did for the USA.”
The already strained relations between the United States and Pakistan took another dip in January this year when Trump suspended security assistance to Islamabad over the alleged presence of Afghan militant groups in Pakistan’s tribal belt — a claim rejected by Islamabad.