Britain points finger at Putin over spy poisoning

Britain points finger at Putin over spy poisoning
Britain pointed the finger at Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday for a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in England. (AP)
Updated 06 September 2018

Britain points finger at Putin over spy poisoning

Britain points finger at Putin over spy poisoning

LONDON: Britain pointed the finger at Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday for a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in England — a charge that Moscow rejected as “unacceptable.”
The leaders of the United States, France, Germany and Canada later said they had “full confidence” in Britain’s assessment that officers from Russia’s military intelligence service were behind the Novichok attack that nearly killed Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.
British Security Minister Ben Wallace said that Putin was “ultimately” responsible for the poisoning in the southwestern city of Salisbury, prompting an angry response from Moscow.
“For us any sort of accusation regarding the Russian leadership is unacceptable,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
Britain has previously accused Russia of orchestrating the attack, but Moscow denies any involvement and insists it is ready to cooperate in any investigation.
“Neither Russia’s top leadership nor those in the ranks below, nor any official representatives have anything to do with the events in Salisbury,” Peskov said.
London and its allies expelled dozens of Russian diplomats after the poisoning, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Moscow and plunging relations to a new low.
In a major new development, Prime Minister Theresa May announced Wednesday that police had issued international arrest warrants for the two suspects, identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.
She said they were members of Russian military intelligence and acted on orders from a “high level,” but Wallace went further when asked if Putin had any responsibility.
“Ultimately he does in so far as he is the president of the Russian Federation and it is his government that controls, funds and directs the military intelligence, the GRU, via his ministry of defense,” Wallace told BBC radio.


LIVE: Donald Trump leaves White House ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania make their way to board Marine One before departing from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on January 20, 2021. (AFP)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania make their way to board Marine One before departing from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on January 20, 2021. (AFP)
Updated 5 min ago

LIVE: Donald Trump leaves White House ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania make their way to board Marine One before departing from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on January 20, 2021. (AFP)
  • Joe Biden will be sworn in later on Wednesday afternoon
  • Ceremony will take place amid heightened tensions and a massive security operatio

LONDON: The US is braced for one of the highest profile handovers of the presidency in its history. Donald Trump left the White House on Wednesday with First Lady Melania, before attending a military send-off at Joint Base Andrews.

Joe Biden will be sworn in at 5 p.m. GMT (8 p.m. KSA) and take the oath of office alongside Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

The ceremony will take place amid heightened tensions and a massive security operation after a deadly riot at the US Capitol earlier this month.

Follow live updates of the inauguration below (all times GMT):

14:00 - Trump said he will be “back in some form” before boarding Air Force One for Florida.

“This has been an incredible four years,” Trump said in brief remarks to staff, supporters and members of his family gathered at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington. “We've accomplished so much together, I will always fight for you. We will be back in some form.”

Trump did not address Biden by name but said he wishs the new administration “great luck and great success.”

13:30 - Trump makes his final speech as President of the United States, saying it had been the greatest honor of his life. Watch it below: