Russia finds itself in a diplomatic dispute after allegations of poisoning

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RussiaThe Russian Federation is now in the center of the worse political dispute that has led to its relations with the western world at an all-time low. It all starts in the British capital when a former KGB secret agent who had dual Russian and UK citizenship and his daughter suffered a mysterious dose of poisoning.

In what appears to be a spy story reminiscent of the cold war, the government of British Prime Minister Teresa May accused the Russians of sponsoring the attack and having arranged the poisoning. Although it remains unclear what evidence the country has implicating the Russian government in the March 4 attack on Sergei Skripal and his  daughter Yulia, this has led to a major international incident with France, Germany, most of the European Union and the United States recalling their diplomats from Moscow and expelling the Kremlin’s respective liaisons on their side as well.

The Russians however have met this show of ridiculous behavior with some amusement but has asked that London show the evidence they have to the world. South Africa still retains warm relations with the government of president Russian Vladimir Putin. I’m not sure whether Pretoria is participating in this fiasco.

A spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry says Britain’s failure to track down the source of a nerve agent used to poison a Russian ex-spy shows that the accusations against Russia have been based merely on baseless suspicion. Maria Zakharova cited the head of the British defense laboratory’s acknowledgement that scientists didn’t identify the origin of the nerve agent used to poison former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England on March 4. In a mocking statement posted on Facebook, Zackarova said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow (British Prime Minister) Theresa May and her bright team say that all their speeches in Parliament and efforts to build a global coalition resulted from the Russian hackers hacking into Disney cartoon studios.”

The truth is that when it comes to whatever happens in Britain which due to its geographic position and place in major air thorough fares and trade routes nothing is what it seems on the surface. Since London has always been a city at the heart of the international community anything that is possible can happen there.

The head of Britain’s military research center said on Tuesday it was unable yet to say whether the military-grade nerve agent that poisoned a Russian double-agent last month had been produced in Russia. “We were able to identify it as Novichok, to identify that it was military- grade nerve agent,” Gary Atikenhead, chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology  Laboratory at Porton Down in England, told Sky News. “We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions you have come to.”

However, he confirmed the substance required “extremely sophisticated methods to create, something only in the capabilities of a state actor”. Whoever is behind the current state of Skripal and his daughter (both of whom are still alive and rehabilitating in hospital) should certainly be brought to justice. However, to raise this to a diplomatic crisis without any concrete evidence raises questions concerning whether May, her ministers and allies understand what they are doing. The United Kingdom is undergoing a very difficult transitional period in terms of its history in terms of Brexit negotiations and the EU itself has been facing a resurgence in far-right politics.

Clearly for them to engage in this latest diplomatic row with Putin shows a desire to strengthen their own interests and keep their people in line towards a common enemy in this case Putin’s Russia. This can be the only conclusion If British investigative scientists are unable to identify the
source.