On May 16, The Times published an article entitled “Europe’s stand against Putin is crumbling” written by the UK journalist Roger Boyes. According to the article, Britain is risking to be isolated as the so-called Salisbury case “is quickly forgotten” and “pro-Kremlin cronies gain influence.”
Boyes noted that firstly London and its European allies rushed to accuse Russia of being involved in the alleged poisoning of of Skripals on March 4. The UK, the US and their allies accomplished the expulsion of over 130 diplomats Russian diplomats.
Moscow rejected the accusations, describing them as a provocation against Russia.
On April 29, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that the UK media, which previously had been buzzing over the poisoning and accusations towards Russia, had started to keep silence over any details of the case as it “falls apart”.
Boyes pointed out that with the course of time, the UK seems to have lost all credibility as other states start to ask questions about the veracity of statements previously made by British officials and media. The author complained that EU countries want to “open Putin the door” and the UK turns out to be isolated.
The author pointed out a right-wing member of the Italian Senate Matteo Salvini who heads a political party in Italy Lega Nord, which could be a new Rome government. Savlini signed a “collaborating agreement” with the largest Russian political party United Russia. Savlini is also against the renewal of anti-Russian sanctions and was opposed to the expulsion of Russian diplomats.
Boyes also underlined Austria’s decision not to expel Russian diplomats as Austria stressed that it wants “break the barriers” with Moscow.
Then Boyes marked another “Kremlin friend” Czech President Milos Zeman, who had described anti-Russian sanctions as “deconstructive” and “ineffective”.
The author emphasized that “illiberal” countries of Central Europe, EU members depending on Russian gas and Greece or Cyprus interested in large Russian investments don’t express “any enthusiasm” over the UK tough stance towards Russia.
Boyes noted that this situation must influence on the decision to permit the Director-General of the British Security Service Andrew Parker to speak once more to European intelligence agencies in Berlin. Boyes recalled Andrew Parker’s speech on May 14 in Berlin. Parker described Russian government as the “chief protagonist” in a campaign aimed at undermining Western democracies. Parker stressed that after the Skripals poisoning Russia had created a “smoke screen of lies, half-truth and intentional embroilment of situation.” Boyes underlined that the Berlin audience was “well-matched” as assisted politicians were among those who had been demanding additional proof of Moscow’s involvement in the incident. Thus, they believed that the so-called Salisbury case “is a British problem”.
Boyes pointed out that Germany must be the first to be convinced to support the tough stance towards Russian President Vladimir Putin. The article emphasized the German-Russian profitable relations, pointing out the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline which is to go from Russia to Germany and pass round Ukraine.
However, the German government is split, the British journalist remarked. He speculated that while some members of German parliament support Putin, German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas tries to adopt a tougher position towards Moscow. Boyes pointed out that the most debated issue of the German foreign policy is the Russian one.
In all cases, the UK was obliged to convince its EU allies not to ignore the US, that remunerates the main part of European defensive expends as “it is unreasonable and shortsighted”, Boyes stressed.
The article concluded calling on to discuss issues “with eager enthusiasm”.