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World Russia shrugs off World Cup no-show by British ministers, royals

17:36  14 march  2018
17:36  14 march  2018 Source:   afp.com

UK's May says "highly likely" Russia behind nerve attack on spy

  UK's May says <p>British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday it was "highly likely" that Moscow was responsible for the poisoning in England of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter using a military-grade nerve agent.</p>Either the Russian state was directly responsible for the poisoning or it had allowed the poison, which belonged the Novichok group of nerve agents, to get into the hands of others, May told Britain's parliament.

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced a raft of measures in response to an attack on a former double agent it blames on Russia © Provided by AFP British Prime Minister Theresa May announced a raft of measures in response to an attack on a former double agent it blames on Russia

Moscow on Tuesday shrugged off London's decision not to send British ministers and royals to Russia's World Cup over a nerve agent attack on a former double agent.

The measure was one of a number announced by British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday in response to the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England.

May said her government had found that Russia was "culpable" of the attack.

"It is every fan's choice, whether to come or not," Russia's World Cup organising committee chief Alexei Sorokin told the RIA Novosti state news agency.

Trump says will talk to UK's May, will condemn Russia 'if we agree'

  Trump says will talk to UK's May, will condemn Russia 'if we agree' <p>U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States still needed to sort out the facts behind the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.</p>Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House, acknowledged that British authorities have accused Russia in the attack on the former Russian double agent who passed secrets to British intelligence, but said he still needed to talk to May before rendering a judgment.

"It will have no impact on the quality of the tournament. We still intend to organise it at the highest level," said Sorokin.

The possibility of an English team boycott the first World Cup staged in Russia has been heavily analysed by the Moscow press and irritated football officials.

May's announcement should remove the worst-case scenario for Russian organisers and the world football governing body FIFA.

But Sorokin still criticised May for giving a diplomatic snub to a tournament that has been associated closely with Vladimir Putin since the Russian strongman wrested the hosting rights away from England in 2010.

"It is a shame that not everyone adheres to the principle of football being outside politics," Sorokin said.

UK readies response to Russia after spy deadline passes

  UK readies response to Russia after spy deadline passes <p>Moscow ignored a midnight deadline to explain how a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union was used against a former spy in England.</p>Theresa May is set to announce a range of economic and diplomatic measures against Russia in response to the assault on Sergei and Yulia Skripal. The father and daughter remain in critical condition in a hospital in Salisbury, southwestern England.

May announced a raft of measures that included expelling 23 Russian diplomats and suspending high-level diplomatic contacts with Moscow.

"There will be no attendance by ministers -- or indeed members of the royal family -- at this summer's World Cup in Russia," May told lawmakers.

The Foreign Office also warned Britons currently in or travelling to Russia of a risk of "anti-British sentiment or harassment".

Most foreign fans attending the June 14 to July 15 competition will be arriving in Moscow before either flying or taking a train to one of the 10 other host cities.

England will play their opening match against Tunisia on June 18 in the Volga River city of Volgograd.

They travel up the river for a June 24 encounter in Nizhny Novgorod against Panama before wrapping up their group stage games against Belgium on June 30 in the western exclave of Kaliningrad.

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