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White House

White House Supports UK Decision to Expel Russian Diplomats

The White House supports the UK government’s decision to expel Russian diplomats residing in Britain, it has said.

The UK has concluded that the Russian government is responsible for the attempted assassination of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, 66 and his daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, using a dangerous nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury.

The statement from the White House reads:

“The United States stands in solidarity with its closest ally, the United Kingdom. The United States shares the United Kingdom’s assessment that Russia is responsible for the reckless nerve agent attack on a British citizen and his daughter, and we support the United Kingdom’s decision to expel Russian diplomats as a just response. This latest action by Russia fits into a pattern of behaviour in which Russia disregards the international rules-based order, undermines the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and attempts to subvert and discredit western democratic institutions and processes. The United States is working together with our allies and partners to ensure that this kind of abhorrent attack does not happen again.”

The supportive statement from the White House comes after the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, told the UN Security Council that the US stood in “absolute solidarity” with its ally, the United Kingdom. In a strong rebuttal against the Russian government on the subject, Haley said that the US shared the UK’s assessment of the events that took place.

“The United States believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent,” Haley said.

UK prime minister Theresa May has said that the diplomats, who have been identified as “undeclared intelligence officers”, have a week to leave the country. The UK described the poison as “a weapon so horrific that it is banned in war”.

Russia vehemently denies involvement in the attempted assassination. Mrs May has said that Russia has met the accusations with “sarcasm, contempt and defiance”.

Both victims are currently in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

Nuclear Weapons

Putin Unveils ‘Invincible’ Nuclear Weapons

Vladimir Putin has unveiled an array of ‘invincible’ nuclear weapons. Russia’s president made the claims during his annual state of the nation speech that laid out his core policies for another presidential term ahead of the election in just over two weeks’ time.

During the speech to the Russian parliament, Putin presented videos that outlined the development of new nuclear delivery systems including cruise missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles and supersonic jets. One of the nuclear weapons included a cruise missile that Putin claimed could “reach anywhere in the world”.

Another weapon announced included an undetectable missile. Putin explained that it was a “low-flying, difficult-to-spot cruise missile… with a practically unlimited range and an unpredictable flight path, which can bypass lines of interception and is invincible in the face of all existing and future systems of both missile defence and air defence.”

Beyond this, Putin unveiled a nuclear weapon described as a submarine-launched missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. “Russia still has the greatest nuclear potential in the world, but nobody listened to us,” he said. “Listen now.”

Putin claimed that the development of the new arsenal of nuclear weapons were a reaction to America’s move to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

“Efforts to contain Russia have failed, face it,” said Mr Putin. “I hope that all that was said today will sober up any potential aggressor.”

Chairman of the Russian Senate’s foreign affairs committee, Konstantin Kosachev, said Putin’s speech “should, I believe, cool down the minds of all those who are seriously reflecting on the possibility of delivering an unpunished blow to Russia: the answer will be crushing.”

While the threat may seem clear, Putin maintains that Russia’s development of these nuclear weapons is purely defensive. “We’ve never had an intention of attacking anybody,” he said. “Russia will only retaliate if it is attacked.”

Further reading: North Korea Tests Ballistic Missile