Russian officials have mocked Gavin Williamson for his “extreme level of intellectual impotence” after the Defence Secretary urged the country to “go away” and “shut up”.
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In a statement, Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Defence Ministry, said: “The extreme level of the intellectual impotence of the head of the British Ministry of Defence Gavin Williamson was clearly demonstrated today by his rhetoric – of a vulgar old harpy.
“Long ago, Great Britain became the cosy nest not just for the world’s turncoats, but also of all kinds of headquarters for producing fake scandals….
“All of this confirms the fact that London’s accusations against Russia, which we have heard over the previous few years amount to nothing, but also the complete insignificance of the accusers themselves.
“Russia long ago developed a strong immunity to London’s fake accusations towards Russia.”
What did Gavin Williamson say?
Mr Williamson lashed out at Russia as he unveiled plans to invest in a chemical weapons defence centre in Porton Down, Wiltshire. Scientists currently working at the laboratory near Salisbury helped identify the nerve agent used to attack ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal.
In a speech on Thursday, the defence secretary said: “We will look at how Russia responds to what we’ve done.
“It’s absolutely atrocious and outrageous what Russia did in Salisbury – we’ve responded to that. Frankly, Russia should go away – it should shut up.
“But if they do respond to the action we have taken, we’ll consider it carefully and we’ll look at our options. But it would be wrong to prejudge their response.”
Asked if the situation could lead to a fresh Cold War, Mr Williamson said: “Let’s face it, relations aren’t good, are they?”
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West blames Russia
Leaders of Britain, the US, Germany and France have issued a joint statement blaming Russia for the Salisbury poison attack.
In a joint statement, Mrs May, US President Donald Trump, France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel said they “abhor” the poison attack and share the assessment there was “no plausible alternative explanation” other than Russia being responsible.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire from many of his own MPs for his failure to blame the Kremlin explicitly for the attack.
The Labour leader warned it was not the time to make hasty judgments about an issue that could lead to a new Cold War.
What is a harpy?
A mythical creature depicted as a cross between a woman and a vulture. Often seen with a woman’s head and bird’s body