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The Skripal hoax continues. Photo supplied

UK announces formal sanctions regime aimed at Russia

The EU leaders will formally adopt a sanctions regime on chemical weapons at the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg next week aimed at Russia. But based on what hard evidence?

Published: October 14, 2018, 10:03 am

    London

    On October 15, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced by means of a press release: “A sanctions regime on chemical weapons, tabled by the UK and France in the wake of the Syria and Salisbury attacks, will be adopted formally tomorrow at the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg. This follows extensive lobbying efforts from the UK and close partners.”

    UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will be meeting foreign ministers from Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania in his official residence before leaving for Luxembourg, according to the press release.

    “The Foreign Secretary will use this momentum to ensure specific individuals and entities responsible for the use and proliferation of chemical weapons across the world are listed under the new sanctions regime swiftly. He will also tell counterparts at the FAC that discussions on a new cyber-related sanctions regime must now be accelerated,” the press release stated.

    According to Hunt, these new sanctions “are vital but they are not the end of the story” since they enforce an “international taboo” on the use of chemical weapons.

    “But that is at risk now after Syria and Salisbury. We now need to redraw the red line that says that for anyone using these horrific weapons the price will always be too high,” he said.

    Hunt, incidentally, has also described Saudi Arabia as a “very, very important military ally”. In August 2018, Hunt even defended Britain’s alliance with Saudi Arabia after a bomb dropped on a school bus in Yemen killed 51 people, including 40 children. Yet he appears to be most concerned about one ex-Russian spy.

    The Bellingcat claims of Russian involvement on which Hunt and his followers have relied describing “Syrian chemical attacks” as well as the Skripal poisoning case do not alter some crucial points.

    The UK Metropolitan Police has so far failed to provide any convincing evidence that the two suspects they have named had walked up to 47 Christie Miller Road and placed “Novichok” on the door handle of the Skripal home.

    They have CCTV footage of two unidentified men in Salisbury. The CCTV footage released by the Met does not show the men in the vicinity of Skripal’s house; it shows them on a different street altogether, quite far away.

    It has been established via a Freedom of Information request to Wiltshire Council that all CCTV cameras were operational on both days, and that all footage in relation to the March Skripal-related incident was handed over to the Counter-Terrorism Police.

    Not only has the Met chosen not to release any details revealed by the CCTV footage, but they have also appealed for “help” in establishing the movements of the suspects suggesting that there is nothing linking the two Russian men to the Skripal case.

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