Theresa May tells the EU to stand up with Britain against the Russian ‘enemy’

Theresa May

caption
Theresa May
source
Leon Neal / Getty

  • Theresa May will today urge EU countries to do more to stand up to Russia.
  • She will address the EU Council in Brussels as she seeks multilateral retaliation for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal.
  • A senior UK government source says the EU must now see Russia as a “strategic enemy.”
  • The UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson compares Putin to Hitler.

LONDON – Theresa May will today urge EU countries to “stand shoulder to shoulder” against the Russian threat as she urges them to join Britain in taking retaliatory action against Putin’s regime for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal.

The prime minister will use a meeting of the EU Council in Brussels to call on her European allies to take tougher action against the “shared threat” of Russia.

“As a European democracy the United Kingdom will stand shoulder to shoulder with the EU and with NATO to face these shared threats together,” she will say, adding that “united we will succeed.”

A senior government source told Business Insider that the EU must now see Russia as a “strategic enemy”. They also indicated that the UK will share classified intelligence about Russia with the other 27 EU countries.

“This happened on our soil but it could have happened on theirs,” they said.

“Russia has shown itself to be a strategic enemy, not a strategic partner.”

May’s comments comes as the foreign secretary compares Putin to Hitler.

Asked at Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday whether Russia’s hosting of the World Cup was comparable to Nazi Germany’s hosting of the Olympic games, Johnson replied that the comparison was “certainly right.

“I think the comparison with 1936 is certainly right. It is an emetic prospect to think of Putin glorifying in this sporting event,” he told Austin.

The UK will push for other EU countries to mirror Britain in expelling Russian diplomats from their country. However, it will stop short of seeking outright conflict with the country.

“We’re not looking for confrontation or regime change,” the source said.

Senior EU leaders are expected to back May’s position with a draft text for the meeting suggesting they take the threat “extremely seriously”.

“On Russia and the Salisbury attack, I have no doubt that all EU leaders will express solidarity with the UK,” European Council President Donald Tusk said on Wednesday.

“But I will also suggest that we draw practical conclusions as to what this means for the EU. To me, it is clear that we should reinforce our preparedness for future attacks, including in co-operation with NATO. And we need to increase our resilience to hybrid threats, such as undermining trust in our democracies through fake news or election meddling.”