September 27, 2018 / 2:43 PM / 21 days ago

UK foreign minister says Russia may wonder if Skripal poisoning was smart

LONDON (Reuters) - British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said on Thursday that the world would not be a comfortable place for Russia if it used chemical weapons, adding that the Kremlin may be regretting ordering an attack on a former Russian spy in Salisbury.

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt arrives at the Foreign Office in Westminster, London, September 10, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Russia denies involvement in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English town of Salisbury in March.

But Britain blames Russia for the incident and Prime Minister Theresa May, along with Britain’s allies, ordered the biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats since the height of the Cold War.

Hunt said he had a “frank exchange of views” with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, adding that it was “not acceptable for Russia to instruct two GRU (intelligence) agents to use chemical weapons on British soil,” but that May’s reaction had been strong.

“In the recesses of the Kremlin, if they’re reflecting on whether that was a smart thing to do, they must be wondering... They paid a very high diplomatic price,” Hunt told Sky News in an interview.

“They need to understand that it will not be a comfortable place for Russia in the world if this is the way they behave.”

Reporting by Sarah Young, writing by Alistair Smout

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