All the ways Theresa May could retaliate against Russia for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal


theresa may russia retaliation

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May has given the Russian government until midnight on Tuesday to provide a “credible” explanation for the poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, after which she will “set out the full range of measures” Britain will take in retaliation.

So what are the options open to May? Here are all the possible responses the UK could take and how likely they are to take them.

Expel Russian diplomats

Britain last expelled Russian diplomats back in 2012 following “evidence of activities by the Russian intelligence services against UK interests.” Such expulsions are relatively common in international diplomacy and are normally the first port of call in any major diplomatic incident.

How likely is this?

It is highly likely that at least some Russian diplomats will be kicked out by Britain. However, Britain will want to retain some diplomatic ties with Russia on UK soil.

Withdraw UK government representation from the World Cup

There was some excitement last week when Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appeared to suggest that the England football team would withdraw from the upcoming World Cup in Russia. However, Johnson’s aides quickly scrambled to clarify that he had only been referring to UK officials and diplomats withdrawing from the tournament, rather than the team itself.

How likely is this?

It is now fairly likely that Britain will withdraw its formal representation from the World Cup in protest over the Salisbury attack. However, it is questionable how seriously the Russian government will take Johnson and Prince William failing to turn up to the games.

Withdraw Russia Today’s license

May was asked repeatedly in the Commons yesterday about the continued presence of the Russian state television channel Russia Today, in the UK. While criticising those politicians, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who have appeared on the channel, she did not explicitly state that their license would be withdrawn.

How likely is this?

Any decision about the licensing of RT will be taken by the independent communications regulator Ofcom, rather than May’s government. However, Ofcom has already indicated that they may withdraw RT’s license. In a statement released last night, a spokesperson said that:

“Ofcom has an ongoing duty to be satisfied that all broadcast licensees are fit and proper to hold a licence.

“We have heard the Prime Minister’s statement in the House of Commons this afternoon and we await her further statement on Wednesday. We will then consider the implications for RT’s broadcast licenses.”

It is, therefore, looking increasingly likely that RT could lose their license.


Home Secretary Amber Rudd has previously raised the possibility of Britain taking retaliatory cyberattacks against Russia, following their attempts to meddle in Western elections. This could take the form of denial of service attacks against Russian state websites, or websites used to spread Russian government propaganda. This would be a relatively easy step for the UK to take but would mark a significant ramping up of tensions with the Russian government which could spiral into a highly damaging and costly cyberwar between the two countries.

How likely is this?

The risks associated with such attacks may …read more

Source:: Business Insider


(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *