Friday, March 16, 2018

World Cup 2018: Ministers & Royal Family will not go to Russia

March 16, 2018 (ChronicleLive) UK government ministers and members of the Royal Family will not attend the World Cup in Russia after a Russian-made nerve agent was used on an ex-spy. Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, are in a critical condition after the incident in Salisbury on 4 March. Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday that the relationship between the two countries "cannot be the same". Buckingham Palace said "no plans had been made" for any of the Royal Family to travel for the World Cup in Russia. Prince William is the president of the Football Association (FA).
When asked whether senior FA officials should also not go to the World Cup - which runs from 14 June to 15 July - Mrs May said: "I'm sure they will want to be considering their position. "Attendance at sporting events is a matter for the sporting authorities - it's a matter for them." In a statement, the FA said it will "continue to work closely with the UK government and relevant authorities".
"Our priority for all England matches is to ensure the safety and security of the fans, players and staff. As is standard practice, we will take all travel guidance from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office," it added. On Wednesday, the Foreign Office updated its advice for those visiting Russia. It said UK nationals in the country should be "aware of the possibility of anti-British sentiment or harassment" due to "heightened political tensions between the UK and Russia". It said the British Embassy in Moscow was "not aware of any increased difficulties for British people travelling in Russia at this time" but recommended UK nationals "remain vigilant, avoid any protests or demonstrations and avoid commenting publically on political developments".
Mrs May, speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, said the government would "look at security and protection of any UK football fans travelling to the World Cup". She also announced the UK will expel 23 Russian diplomats and revoke an invitation to the Russian foreign minister to visit the country. Russia denies being involved in the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal.

Tensions between the UK and Russia are running high over the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Sergei Skripal, 66, and Yulia Skripal, 33, were found on March 4 slumped on a bench near a shopping centre in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and taken to hospital. A police officer who fell ill after attending the incident - Det Sgt Nick Bailey - was also taken to hospital. According to Prime Minister Theresa May , the nerve agent which poisoned them was one of a group of poisons called Novichok, which were developed by Russia. Mr Skripal is a former Russian spy and double agent. He served in the Soviet military, part of an elite airborne troop known as the Desantniki, and was among the first to enter Afghanistan during the invasion of 1979. Mrs May believes it was “highly likely” the Russian state was responsible for the attacks. And following Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Mrs May again laid into Russia and expelled 23 diplomats in the largest mass expulsion of diplomats since the Cold War. She announced the suspension of high-level contacts with Russia, including a boycott of this summer’s World Cup by Government ministers and members of the royal family.