The UK has made it very clear that it intends to leverage its special relationship and turn towards the US for a trade deal after Brexit. It perhaps comes as no surprise then that it has taken sides with the world’s biggest economy when it comes to supporting the US’s tough sanctions on Russia.
Britain’s foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt will visit Washington later this week and at the top of his agenda is publicly declaring to president Donald Trump’s administration that he believes that the European Union should replicate the US’s “comprehensive” response to the poisoning of the former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, which caused a global diplomatic fallout.
During this three-day trip, Hunt will call on the EU to “ensure its sanctions against Russia are comprehensive and we truly stand shoulder to shoulder with the US. That means calling out and responding to transgressions with one voice whenever they occur, from the streets of Salisbury to the fate of Crimea.”
Former Russian spy Skripal and his daughter Yulia were hospitalised and treated for a military-grade nerve agent, Novichok, poisoning in March earlier this year. A month later Yulia was discharged from hospital while Sergei was discharged in May. The UK government blamed Russia for the attack and it led to a tit-for-tat diplomat expulsion.
This month the US State Department accused Russia of violating international law and it will impose more sanctions on Moscow, in line with the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991. It notified Congress that unless Russia takes certain steps, Russia will face a second set of penalties.
Hunt will meet US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and will address the United Nations Security Council about the international fight Islamist terror groups.
“Those who do not share our values need to know that there will always be a serious price to pay if red lines are crossed – whether territorial incursions, the use of banned weapons or, increasingly, cyber-attacks,” Hunt will add in his speech during his visit.