Crispin Blunt says it's 'difficult to see' what the UK can do to punish Russia for Sergei Skripal

A journalist shows CCTV footage of Sergei Skripal and his daughter on a mobile phone. Both were later found unconscious

A journalist shows CCTV footage of Sergei Skripal and his daughter on a mobile phone. Both were later found unconscious

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The former chair of the Commons foreign affairs select committee has told talkRADIO it's "difficult to see" what the UK can do to Russia in retaliation for the alleged poisoning of a former spy on British soil.

Sergei Skripal, a former FSB colonel convicted of high treason in Russia for collaborating with MI6, was found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, Wiltshire, along with his daughter. It has been suggested that Vladimir Putin was directly behind the alleged assassination attempt.

Crispin Blunt told Julia Hartley-Brewer that "we know we're dealing with a Russian government that has a history of murdering its opponents abroad," adding that "Sergei Skripal would fall highly into that category."

However, Blunt added: "Our political relations are already in a deep freeze with Russia.

"It's quite difficult to see what steps one can take, unless one then starts going very hard on economic sanctions which of course at the moment we have to do within the European Union."

The UK, he said, was "at the hawkish end" of the EU when it comes to Russia, but other countries within the bloc are far less inclined to pursue sanctions.

"Some form of appropriate response" is necessary, Blunt said, and at least "our relations are so bad it's hard to see how they can get significantly worse."

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