Speech: Britain needs its allies to stand with us against Russia: article by Boris Johnson

#1
We have a tradition in Britain that any town with a cathedral becomes a city. Salisbury won that title nearly 800 years ago, thanks to the magnificent cathedral that still dominates its streets.

So you can imagine Britain’s sense of revulsion – indeed of violation – over the fact that a tranquil medieval city has witnessed the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War II.

As I write, the principal target, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, are both in critical condition. A police officer who went to their aid is also in the hospital. About three dozen others required medical treatment simply because they were nearby when the substance was released.

It was only down to chance that more people are not lying stricken today; the perpetrators clearly did not care how many innocents were endangered. What sticks in my mind is the cavalier indifference – and sheer brazenness – of this attack.

Our experts have identified the weapon used in Salisbury on March 4 as a fourth-generation nerve agent known as Novichok, designed to play havoc with the central nervous system and inflict a lingering death.

Russian scientists developed Novichok starting in the 1970s. Today, only Russia combines a record of state-sponsored assassinations with a publicly avowed motive for trying to kill Sergei Skripal and stockpiles of Novichok agents.

On Monday, I summoned the Russian ambassador and gave his government 36 hours to inform us if any of these stocks had somehow gone missing.

I regret to say that the deadline passed without a response from the Kremlin. The British government has drawn the only plausible conclusion: that the Russian state attempted murder in a British city, employing a lethal nerve agent banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

On Wednesday, Theresa May, the Prime Minister, announced the biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats from Britain for more than 30 years, evicting 23 undeclared intelligence officers. The government will now take a range of measures to protect Britain from hostile states and dismantle the Russian espionage network in our country.

But this matter goes far beyond a bilateral dispute. If the Russian state is prepared to deploy a banned weapon in a British city – amounting to the unlawful use of force against the United Kingdom – then the Kremlin is clearly willing to act without restraint. The bleak truth is that what happened in Salisbury could have happened anywhere.

I interpret this incident as part of a pattern of reckless behavior by President Vladimir Putin. The common thread that joins the poisonings in Salisbury with the annexation of Crimea, the cyberattacks in Ukraine, the hacking of Germany’s Parliament and Russian interference in foreign elections is the Kremlin’s reckless defiance of essential international rules.

Most tellingly of all, Russia has made immense efforts to conceal the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria. In October, an international investigation concluded that Bashar al-Assad’s forces had used the nerve agent sarin against the town of Khan Sheikhoun in April 2017.

Yet instead of condemning Assad, Russia covered up for him by vetoing the renewal of the international inquiry and, in effect, forcing it to shut down.

How much easier does it become for a state to deploy chemical weapons when its government has already tolerated and sought to hide their use by others? I would draw a connection between Putin’s indulgence of Assad’s atrocities in Syria and the Russian state’s evident willingness to employ a chemical weapon on British soil.

There is a reason for choosing Novichok. In its blatant Russian-ness, the nerve agent sends a signal to all who may be thinking of dissent in the intensifying repression of Putin’s Russia. The message is clear: We will find you, we will catch you, we will kill you – and though we will deny it with lip-curling scorn, the world will know beyond doubt that Russia did it.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia has a special obligation to uphold the rules of good international conduct. When it does the opposite and tramples upon these rules, the Kremlin threatens the very architecture of global security.

All responsible nations share an obligation to take a principled stance against this behavior. The countermeasures announced by the Prime Minister are not solely about the attack in Salisbury. Britain is striving to uphold the rules on which the safety of every country depends. I hope and believe that our friends will stand alongside us.


Find out more about the UK government response to the Salisbury attack.

Continue reading...
 
#2
Doesn't sound like the French are. OK that may be an imaginative definition of "friends", but I'd hoped after their rather good showing against Jihadi types in Africa that they'd turned a corner.
 
#3
So you can imagine Britain’s sense of revulsion – indeed of violation – over the fact that a tranquil medieval city has witnessed the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War II.
And what WWII 'offensive use of a nerve agent' would that be then? I've read about the German bio programme, but also that the artillery shells filled with the stuff were discovered in stockpiles at the end of the war, unused. Could it be that the government doesn't want to refer to the Gulf and WMD?

'Nerve agents were developed in pre-World War II Germany. Germany had stockpiles of nerve agent munitions during World War II (WWII), but did not use them for reasons that are still unclear. In the closing days of the war, the U.S. and its allies discovered these stockpiles, developed the agents, and manufactured nerve agent munitions. The U.S. chemical agent stockpile contains the nerve agents GB and VX.
Nerve agents are considered major military threat agents. The only known battlefield use of nerve agents was in the Iraq-Iran conflict. Intelligence analysts indicate that many countries have the technology to manufacture nerve agent munitions.'


https://fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/doctrine/army/mmcch/NervAgnt.htm#HISTORY/MILITARY RELEVANCE
 
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DaManBugs

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
This buffoon needs sacking and should never have a political role again. The veracity of his story has always been thin to start with but this guy’s lies (not merely “misleading” comments) could start repercussions costing the lives of ordinary people while he and his political cronies along are safe and smug in Westminster free to make other irresponsible accusations.

Why should the British public believe the utterances of a serial philanderer with his record of journalistic inaccuracies? He has ‘form’ stretching back all his adult life. He’s not a buffoon, he’s a very calculating individual. He should be dismissed before he does to this country what he did to Petronella Wyatt.
Now that I can most wholeheartedly agree with. Very well put there!

MsG
 
#5
This buffoon needs sacking and should never have a political role again. The veracity of his story has always been thin to start with but this guy’s lies (not merely “misleading” comments) could start repercussions costing the lives of ordinary people while he and his political cronies along are safe and smug in Westminster free to make other irresponsible accusations.

Why should the British public believe the utterances of a serial philanderer with his record of journalistic inaccuracies? He has ‘form’ stretching back all his adult life. He’s not a buffoon, he’s a very calculating individual. He should be dismissed before he does to this country what he did to Petronella Wyatt.
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
This buffoon needs sacking and should never have a political role again. The veracity of his story has always been thin to start with but this guy’s lies (not merely “misleading” comments) could start repercussions costing the lives of ordinary people while he and his political cronies along are safe and smug in Westminster free to make other irresponsible accusations.

Why should the British public believe the utterances of a serial philanderer with his record of journalistic inaccuracies? He has ‘form’ stretching back all his adult life. He’s not a buffoon, he’s a very calculating individual. He should be dismissed before he does to this country what he did to Petronella Wyatt.
Well, annoying as the man is, he does present a valid alternative view to the world, so for that reason, we cant really fire DaManBugs.
 

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