The UK is ready to build a “different relationship” with Russia following the diplomatic rift over the Skripal poisoning – but only if Moscow confesses all its alleged sins and plays by London’s rules, PM Theresa May has hinted.
The UK Prime Minister focused a large part of her annual speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London on fighting the perceived Russian threat, which she claims has proven to be “ever more real” recently. Despite the belligerent stance towards Moscow, May said that London seeks a “different relationship” with the Kremlin – if only it “desists from these attacks that undermine international treaties and international security.”
“We hope that the Russian state chooses to take this path. If it does, we will respond in kind,” May stated on Monday.
Commenting on May’s remarks, journalist John Wight noted that her “tone in this speech was awful.”
“Her reaching out to Russia was in the form of a mother berating her recalcitrant child, then promising said child that it will be forgiven if it was to change its ways,” he said. “This is not the way to affect the rapprochement with any country, much less the largest country and the most powerful military in Europe.”
Instead of issuing ultimatums, the West should meet Russia halfway and resume discussing issues of global importance and concern to both parties, Wight believes, emphasizing that first of all London has to accept Moscow as an “equal partner.”
“Relations cannot be any worse between the West, including the UK, and Russia. And indeed one would have to say that if they got any worse than they are now, then it would gain the force of military conflict given that there are NATO troops deployed at Russia’s Western border,” the journalist added.
In her speech, the British Prime Minister praised the success of international collaboration in the UK-led effort to punish Moscow for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK city of Salisbury in March.
Moscow has repeatedly denied any role in the alleged chemical attack on British soil and offered to participate in a joint investigation into the incident. But despite the many inconsistencies in the case, May reiterated that British law enforcement agencies already produced enough “irrefutable evidence.”
David Coburn, Member of the European Parliament, believes that May should have focused more on her Brexit negotiations with Brussels rather than hijacking the speech with accusations against Russia.
“She made an absolute mess of Brexit which has been an absolute scandal. She hasn’t been negotiating, she has been capitulating. She should be much better off dealing with that,” the politician told RT. “That is much more important than creating problems with Russia.”
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