Nerve Attack: Putin Hopes International Meet Would End Skripal Row
Police and members of the armed forces probe the suspected nerve agent attack on Russian double agent spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England.
Police and members of the armed forces probe the suspected nerve agent attack on Russian double agent spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England.(Photo: AP)
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Nerve Attack: Putin Hopes International Meet Would End Skripal Row

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KEY EVENT

Putin Hopes Chemical Watchdog Meet Would End Skripal Row, Wants to Join Probe

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, 3 April, that he hoped a planned meeting of the global chemical weapons watchdog would help to defuse a major diplomatic row triggered by the poisoning of the former Russian double agent in England.

At Moscow's request, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will hold a special session on Wednesday, 4 April in the Hague on the Salisbury poisoning.

We have raised 20 questions for discussion (at the meeting). I hope that during this discussion a final line on what has happened will be drawn. 
Vladimir Putin in Ankara, Turkey

Moscow has said it wants to take part in the official British investigation into the poisoning.

We are interested in a full-fledged investigation. We want to be allowed into this investigation and we count on receiving relevant materials as the issue involves citizens of the Russian Federation. 
Vladimir Putin

The OPCW's executive council, which will meet on Wednesday, has 41 members, including Russia and Britain. Any decisions must be approved by two-thirds of members, which is generally difficult to achieve.

Diplomats say Russia will repeat its wish to be involved in the testing of the Salisbury samples and that it will otherwise not accept the outcome of testing done by the OPCW laboratories.

(Source: Reuters)

KEY EVENT

Unable to Say Yet Whether Nerve Agent Was Made in Russia: UK Military Research Boss

The head of Britain's military research centre said on Tuesday, 3 April, that it was unable yet to say whether the military-grade nerve agent that poisoned the Russian double-agent last month had been produced in Russia.

"We were able to identify it as Novichok, to identify that it was military-grade nerve agent," Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down in England, told Sky News.

We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions you have come to.
Gary Aitkenhead

However, he confirmed the substance required "extremely sophisticated methods to create, something only in the capabilities of a state actor".

He added: "We are continuing to work to help to provide additional information that might help us get closer to [the source] but we haven't yet been able to do that."

Aitkenhead said the British government had "other inputs" it could use to determine the origin of the nerve agent, some of them intelligence-based.

He reiterated that the substance could not have come from Porton Down.

A government spokesperson said on Tuesday: "We have been clear from the very beginning that our world leading experts at Porton Down identified the substance used in Salisbury as a Novichok, a military grade nerve agent.

This is only one part of the intelligence picture. As the Prime Minister (Theresa May) has set out ... this includes our knowledge that within the last decade, Russia has investigated ways of delivering nerve agents probably for assassination – and as part of this programme has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichoks; Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations; and our assessment that Russia views former intelligence officers as targets.
Government spokesperson

Skripal's daughter Yulia is getting better after spending three weeks in critical condition due to the nerve toxin attack at her father's home in Salisbury, the hospital where she is being treated said last week. Her father remained in a critical but stable condition.

(Source: Reuters)

KEY EVENT

Russia Expels 59 Diplomats from Western Countries

As a retaliatory measure, Russia on Friday, 30 March expelled diplomats from various countries in quick succession.

During the course of Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned senior embassy officials from Australia, Albania, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Croatia, Ukraine, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Canada and the Czech Republic.

The tentative list of diplomatic expulsions taken by Russia, in retaliation, are as follows:

  • Denmark: 2
  • Italy: 2
  • Finland: 1
  • Poland: 4
  • Sweden: 1
  • Czech Republic: 3
  • Germany: 4
  • Spain: 2
  • Croatia: 1
  • Ireland: 1
  • Canada: 4
  • France: 4

Meanwhile, Britain has been given a month to cut its diplomatic mission in Russia to the same size as the Russian mission in Britain.

KEY EVENT

US Says it May Respond to Russia's Expulsion

The US State Department said on Thursday Russia's decision to expel 60 US diplomats shows that Moscow is not interested in diplomacy, and Washington reserves the right to take further action.

"It's clear from the list provided to us that the Russian Federation is not interested in a dialogue on issues that matter to our two countries," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters. "We reserve the right to respond," she said.

KEY EVENT

Russia Orders 60 US Diplomats to Leave by 5 April

Russia has ordered 60 U.S. diplomats out of the country by 5 April, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.

It said 58 diplomats in Moscow and two general consulate officials in Yekaterinburg were persona non grata in a row over the poisoning of a former Russian double-agent in Britain.

Putin Could Use the 2018 World Cup Like Hitler Used the 1936 Olympics: Boris Johnson

British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Secretary Boris Johnson said that players from England might be advised to boycott the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin would likely use the FIFA World Cup, “like Hitler used the 1936 Olympics,” The Telegraph reported.

KEY EVENT

Russia Warns of 'Cold War Situation' If "Bias Against Moscow" Continues

Russia's Ambassador to Australia said on Wednesday, 28 March that the world would enter a "Cold War situation" should the West continue its bias against Moscow in response to the nerve agent attack against a former Soviet spy in Britain.

The West must understand that the anti-Russian campaign has no future. If it continues, we will be deeply in a Cold War situation.
Grigory Logvinov, Russian Ambassador to Australia

Logvinov rejected claims that Moscow was behind the attack and said Russia has yet to decide on its response to the diplomatic action by British allies.

I said we have no evidence. The British stubbornly denied giving any evidence. They have denied following the provisions and protocol of the Convention on Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Grigory Logvinov, Russian Ambassador to Australia
KEY EVENT

27 Nations, NATO Take Diplomatic Measures Against Russia

The updated list of diplomatic measures against Russia following the nerve agent attack, are as follows:

  • NATO - Expelling seven diplomats from Russia's mission and blocking appointment of three others.
  • BRITAIN - Expelled 23 Russians alleged to have worked as spies under diplomatic cover. Promised to freeze any Russian state assets that "may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents".
  • UNITED STATES - Expelling 60 Russians, including 12 intelligence officers from Russia's mission to U.N. headquarters in New York. Closing Russian consulate in Seattle.
  • CANADA - Expelling four Russians alleged to have worked as spies or interfered in Canadian affairs under diplomatic cover. Denying three applications for Russian diplomatic staff.
  • UKRAINE - Expelling 13 Russian diplomats
  • FRANCE - Expelling four diplomats
  • GERMANY - Expelling four diplomats
  • POLAND - Expelling four diplomats
  • LITHUANIA - Expelling three diplomats
  • CZECH REPUBLIC - Expelling three diplomats
  • ITALY - Expelling two diplomats
  • AUSTRALIA - Expelling two diplomats
  • NETHERLANDS - Expelling two diplomats
  • SPAIN - Expelling two diplomats
  • ALBANIA - Expelling two diplomats
  • DENMARK - Expelling two diplomats
  • HUNGARY - Expelling one diplomat
  • IRELAND - Expelling one diplomat
  • MACEDONIA - Expelling one diplomat
  • SWEDEN - Expelling one diplomat
  • NORWAY - Expelling one diplomat
  • LATVIA - Expelling one diplomat
  • ESTONIA - Expelling one diplomat
  • FINLAND - Expelling one diplomat
  • ROMANIA - Expelling one diplomat
  • CROATIA - Expelling one diplomat
  • MOLDOVA - Expelling three diplomats
  • BELGIUM - Expelling one diplomat
KEY EVENT

NATO Expels Seven Russian Diplomats From Alliance

NATO expelled seven diplomats from Russia's mission to the NATO alliance over the nerve agent attack, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on 27 March.

Stoltenberg said NATO had also cut the maximum size of the Russian mission at the alliance to 20 people from 30.

"It sends a very clear message to Russia that it has costs," he told a news conference on 27 March.

The NATO chief added that this decision meant that Russia would have reduced capability to do intelligence work in NATO countries following this decision.

Russia Blames US Pressure on Allies For Expulsions

Moscow on Tuesday charged Washington had put "colossal pressure" on allies to expel scores of Russian diplomats, and vowed to retaliate.

"This is the result of colossal pressure, colossal blackmail which is the main instrument of Washington on the international arena," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Uzbekistan, AFP reported.

We’ll respond, have no doubt! No one wants to put up with such loutish behaviour and we won’t.
Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister, Russia 
KEY EVENT

More to Be Done Against Russia Over Spy Attack: Theresa May

Prime Minister Theresa May told senior ministers on Tuesday there was still more to be done in Britain's long-term response to Russia after blaming Moscow for the use of a nerve agent against a former Russian spy in England, Reuters reported.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May. 
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May. 
(Photo: AP)
Yesterday was a significant moment in our response to this reckless act of aggression, but there is still more to be done as we work with international partners on a long-term response to the challenge posed by Russia.
Theresa May

May told cabinet that countries had acted against Russia not just out of solidarity but because they recognised the threat it posed.

KEY EVENT

'Moscow Will Respond Harshly to Expulsion of 60 Russian Diplomats'

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Tuesday that Moscow would respond harshly to the US decision to expel 60 Russian diplomats, but was still open to strategic stability talks with Washington, the RIA news agency reported.

Russian Embassy in USA Conducts Twitter Poll Asking Which US Embassy to Shut Down

In response to the United States announcing the closure of the Russian embassy in Seattle, the twitter handle for the Russian embassy in the US took out a twitter poll, asking followers which US embassy on Russian soil should be shut down.

White House Tweets on Expulsion of Russian Agents and Diplomats

In a reaction to the expulsion of Russian diplomats and foreign agents, the White House tweeted a map of the countries that had, so far, taken diplomatic measures against Russia following the nerve agent attack.

KEY EVENT

23 Nations Announce Expulsions of 51 Russian Diplomats & 87 Russian Agents For Nerve Agent Attack

In the most recent developments, a total of 23 nations have announced diplomatic moves against Russia for the nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury with a military-grade nerve agent.

BRITAIN - Expelled 23 Russians alleged to have worked as spies under diplomatic cover. Promised to freeze any Russian state assets that "may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents".

UNITED STATES - Expelling 60 Russians, including 12 intelligence officers from Russia's mission to U.N. headquarters in New York. Closing Russian consulate in Seattle.

CANADA - Expelling four Russians alleged to have worked as spies or interfered in Canadian affairs under diplomatic cover. Denying three applications for Russian diplomatic staff.

  • UKRAINE - Expelling 13 Russian diplomats
  • FRANCE - Expelling four diplomats
  • GERMANY - Expelling four diplomats
  • POLAND - Expelling four diplomats
  • LITHUANIA - Expelling three diplomats
  • CZECH REPUBLIC - Expelling three diplomats
  • ITALY - Expelling two diplomats
  • NETHERLANDS - Expelling two diplomats
  • SPAIN - Expelling two diplomats
  • ALBANIA - Expelling two diplomat
  • DENMARK - Expelling two diplomats
  • HUNGARY - Expelling one diplomat
  • MACEDONIA - Expelling one diplomat
  • SWEDEN - Expelling one diplomat
  • NORWAY - Expelling one diplomat
  • LATVIA - Expelling one diplomat
  • ESTONIA - Expelling one diploma
  • FINLAND - Expelling one diploma
  • ROMANIA - Expelling one diplomat
  • CROATIA - Expelling one diplomat

Australia Expels Two Russian Diplomats, Hints at World Cup Boycott

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announces the expulsion of two Russian diplomats in solidarity with UK and allies.

Together with the United Kingdom and other allies and partners, Australia is taking action in response to the recent nerve agent attack in Salisbury, UK. Two Russian diplomats identified as undeclared intelligence officers will be expelled by the Australian government for actions inconsistent with their status, pursuant to the Vienna Conventions.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said other options, such as Australia boycotting the 2018 World Cup in Russia, could also be taken over the poisoning incident.

"There are a whole range of further options of action that could be taken, the boycott of the World Cup is one of the further actions that could be taken in relation to this matter," Bishop told reporters in Canberra.

Iceland to Not Attend FIFA World Cup in Russia: Home Ministry

The Icelandic Home Ministry on Monday said that none of the players from the national football team would be travelling to Russia to attend the FIFA World Cup later this summer, in view of the Salisbury attack.

All of Iceland’s closest allies & partners have decided to take measures against Russia in wake of the Salisbury attack. Among measures taken by Iceland is temporary postponement of all high-level bilateral dialogue with Russian authorities.
Ministry of Home Affairs
KEY EVENT

Hungary Expels Russian Diplomat - Foreign Ministry

Hungary's foreign ministry said on Monday it had decided to expel from the country a Russian diplomat whom it said was involved in spying.

"Based on what was said at the session of the European Council, Hungary is expelling a Russian diplomat, who also performs espionage activities," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement to news agency MTI that was later posted on the government's website.

KEY EVENT

US Tells UN 12 Russians to Be Expelled Acted 'Outside Official Capacity'

The United States told the United Nations on Monday that it was expelling 12 Russian UN diplomats because of action they had taken outside their official capacity that was an abuse of their privileges of residence.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley justified the action under a 1947 agreement that established the United Nations headquarters in New York.

"When we see these espionage tactics that are taking place right here at the heart of the UN, we can't have that. This is really not just us but multiple countries saying all of these actions have to stop," Haley told reporters.

When asked if the US move was in accordance with the UN headquarters agreement, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters: "I don't think so."

KEY EVENT

130 People Could Have Been Exposed in Nerve Attack: Theresa May

British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday that more than 130 people could have been exposed to the military-grade nerve agent that poisoned Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury earlier this month.

We assess that more than 130 people in Salisbury could have been potentially exposed to this nerve agent.
Reuters quoted Theresa May as saying

She added that Russia had covered up the use of chemical weapons in Syria by the Assad government.

KEY EVENT

How Countries Responded Against Russia Over Nerve Agent Attack

Britain - Expelled 23 Russians alleged to have worked as spies under diplomatic cover. Promised to freeze any Russian state assets that "may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents".

United States - Expelling 60 Russians, including 12 intelligence officers from Russia's mission to UN headquarters in New York. Closing Russian consulate in Seattle.

Canada - Expelling four Russians alleged to have worked as spies. Denying three applications for Russian diplomatic staff.

France - Expelling four diplomats

Germany - Expelling four diplomats

Poland - Expelling four diplomats

Italy - Expelling two diplomats

Lithuania - Expelling three diplomats

Czech Republic - Expelling three diplomats

Netherlands - Expelling two diplomats

Denmark - Expelling two diplomats

Latvia - Expelling one diplomat

Estonia - Expelling one diplomat

Finland - Expelling one diplomat

Ukraine - Expelling 13 Russian diplomats

KEY EVENT

18 Countries Will Expel Russian Intelligence Officers: May

British Prime Minister Theresa May said 18 countries have announced plans to expel Russian intelligence officers in response to Moscow's suspected involvement in a nerve agent attack in England on a former Russian spy this month.

Earlier on Monday, the United States, European countries, and Canada said they would throw out Russian diplomats over the case.

Canada Expelling Four Russian Diplomats

Canada said on Monday it was expelling four Russian diplomats and denying accreditation for three more in response to a "despicable, heinous and reckless" nerve agent attack earlier this month in Britain, Reuters reported.

KEY EVENT

Extraordinary International Response: UK

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the coordinated measures "clearly demonstrate that we all stand shoulder-to-shoulder in sending the strongest signal to Russia that it cannot continue to flout international law," Reuters reported.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the Western action against scores of Russian diplomats in the United States and Europe was the biggest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers ever.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, 3 April, that he hoped a planned meeting of the global chemical weapons watchdog would help to defuse a major diplomatic row triggered by the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in the English town of Salisbury on 4 March.

Meanwhile, the head of Britain's military research centre has admitted that it was unable yet to say whether the military-grade nerve agent that poisoned the Russian double-agent last month had been produced in Russia.

On 30 March, Russia expelled 59 diplomats from Western countries as a retaliatory measure after several countries announced diplomatic sanctions against Russia.

Snapshotclose

  • “We are interested in a full-fledged investigation. We want to be allowed into this investigation,” Vladimir Putin said on 3 April
  • “The world will enter a Cold War situation,” if diplomatic measures continue, the Russian ambassador to Australia said on 28 March
  • 27 nations and NATO announced expulsions of 158 Russian diplomats and Russian agents
  • Donald Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle
  • On 4 March, Britain accused Russia of using a nerve agent to poison a former Russian double agent and his daughter on English soil
  • While Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal remains in a critical but stable condition, his daughter Yulia is getting better
KEY EVENT

Russia Will Respond to EU on Expulsion: RIA

Russia will respond to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from European Union countries in kind and in the coming days, the RIA news agency reported on Monday, citing a foreign ministry source.

The response will be symmetrical. We will work on it in the coming days and will respond to every country in turn.

Moscow will expel at least 60 staff from US diplomatic missions in Russia, RIA news agency quoted Russian senator Vladimir Dzhabarov as saying.

KEY EVENT

Trump Expels 60 Russians, Closes Seattle Consulate

US President Donald Trump on Monday, 26 March, ordered the expulsion of 60 Russians from the United States and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle over the nerve agent attack earlier this month in Britain, senior US officials said.

The order includes 12 Russian intelligence officers from Russia's mission to the United Nations headquarters in New York and reflects concerns that Russian intelligence activities have been increasingly aggressive, senior US administration officials told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

KEY EVENT

Germany, France And Other EU States Expel Russian Diplomats

Fourteen European Union countries on Monday expelled Russian diplomats, a top official said, after the bloc last week sided with Britain in blaming Moscow for the fatal poisoning of a former Russian spy.

European countries expelling Russian diplomats included Germany, France, Poland, and Netherlands.

“Already today, 14 member states have decided to expel Russian diplomats," President of the European Council Donald Tusk said at a news conference in the Black Sea city of Varna.

Additional measures, including further sanctions within the common EU framework, cannot be excluded in the coming days and weeks.
Donald Tusk

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