A break from Brexit in Parliament was found today by way of Russia. In a statement to the House after PMQs, Theresa May announced that there had been significant developments in the UK investigation into the Salisbury poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal. The government have identified the individuals involved and linked them to the Russian military intelligence service:
‘We were right to say in March that the Russian State was responsible. And now we have identified the individuals involved, we can go even further.
Mr Speaker, just as the police investigation has enabled the CPS to bring charges against the two suspects, so the Security and Intelligence Agencies have carried out their own investigations into the organisation behind this attack.
Based on this work, I can today tell the House that, based on a body of intelligence, the Government has concluded that the two individuals named by the police and CPS are officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU.
The GRU is a highly disciplined organisation with a well-established chain of command.So this was not a rogue operation. It was almost certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state.’
The government is certain that they have found the individuals responsible. The question that remains: how can the UK government retaliate? Some have taken Theresa May’s comments to mean they already have – even if the specific action hasn’t been made public. On today’s Coffee House Shots podcast, we discuss how there aren’t that many options open to May. Britain has already imposed sanctions and expelled diplomats. If the British side is to not resort to the type of tactics used by Russia, what options are left except more of the same?