Leader comment: Russia jokes about West’s reaction to poison attack

Vladimir Putin has a choice to make (Picture: AFP/Getty)
Vladimir Putin has a choice to make (Picture: AFP/Getty)
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Russia’s response to the charge by the UK that it either carried out the Salisbury poisoning attack or allowed its chemical weapons to be used by a third party has been a mix of threats and misinformation.

Yesterday brought news of the response by Britain’s allies – the largest single expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history with 18 countries throwing out more than 100 diplomats.

So, if Moscow thought it could brush off the Salisbury attack, it should think again.

The UK may not have the strength to deal with Russia on its own, but the combined power of some of the world’s leading democracies is more than enough.

Vladimir Putin now has a choice to make: take a step back or continue along the path towards diplomatic isolation, which would almost inevitably lead to economic isolation as investors become nervous.

The initial signs were not good with the Kremlin promising the retaliate to the “provocative gesture” and the Russian Embassy in the US asking people to vote online for which US Consulate in Russia should be closed, adding misplaced humour to the hostile rhetoric.

READ MORE: Russia warns UK: ‘No one should threaten a nuclear power’