- Sergei Lavrov claimed that diplomatic measures against Russia were a distraction tactic by Theresa May given the state of Brexit negotiations.
- May yesterday demanded that 23 Russian diplomats leave Britain, a retaliation for the poisoning of spy Sergei Skripal.
- The UK formally accused Russia of carrying out the attack, which Moscow has denied repeatedly.
- Lavrov also said Moscow would work out its own counter-measures to the UK shortly.
Russia’s foreign minister claimed that Britain’s strong reaction to the poisoning of a former spy on its soil is an attempt to distract people from the Brexit negotiations.
Sergei Lavrov made the assertion in an interview with the Russian-backed news agency Sputnik on Thursday morning.
In a report on the exchange, Sputnik paraphrased Lavrov’s words, and said UK responses to the attempted assassination of Sergei Skirpal “were caused, particularly, by the UK inability to fulfil Brexit obligations.”
Lavrov said Russia is still deciding how to respond to Britain’s decision to expel 23 diplomats and freeze certain assets in retaliation for Russia’s refusal to explain how a deadly Russian nerve agent was used in the poisoning.
RIA Novosti, the Russian-language version of Sputnik, also ran an op-ed on Wednesday accusing Britain of using the Skripal to distract public attention from its “internal problems.”
These include, according to RIA Novosti, the ongoing Brexit negotiations (“a public national humiliation”), the UK’s “far from bright economic prospects,” and the recent relevation of a child-grooming ring in the town of Telford, which police have been accused of ignoring since the 1980s.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any knowledge or involvement in Skripal’s poisoning.