By Hannah Priest
Prime Minister Theresa May has declared that she will strive to create a “different” relationship between the UK and Russia, following a year of turbulent relations. The nerve agent attack in Salisbury, which targeted double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, was followed by a series of cyber-attacks in the UK allegedly directed by the Kremlin. It is safe to say that the relationship between Russia and the UK has not been the most stable in the past year.
May was quick to condemn the Novichok attack at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet. However, she also praised and thanked the international collaboration and support from the UK’s allies during this difficult time. She stated: “Together with our allies, in response to the attack in Salisbury, we coordinated the largest ever collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers, fundamentally degrading Russian intelligence capability for years to come.” May then addressed how, despite the challenges being thrown at the UK, there remains a strong collection of “like-minded” partners who are working hard to defend the country’s values, democracy and, most importantly, people.
The PM also discussed how this is not the relationship the UK wants to have with Russian, promoting and welcoming the idea of developing a “different” relationship, one “[wherein] Russia desists from these attacks that undermine international treaties and international security” and instead focuses on cooperating with global responsibilities in a peaceful and unified way.
May also expressed her hopes that Russia will decide to pursue this unified path, and if so, that the UK will accept their willingness with warmth and kindness. Russia are yet to respond to the request.