World news

Russia rages against UK

Moscow has a grudge against London. In recent weeks, Russia has multiplied allegations against the United Kingdom, which it accuses of carrying out all-out hostile clandestine operations, ranging from the sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 underwater gas pipelines to the coordination of a daring attack, conducted by Ukraine on October 29, using aerial and maritime drones against the Russian naval base in Sevastopol, Crimea.

“This is a warning: Britain is getting far too deeply involved in this conflict. (in Ukraine) », warned Thursday, November 3, the Russian ambassador to London, Andrei Keline, in an interview with the Sky News channel. “It could take us to the point of no return. » The Russian ambassador assures that the Kremlin will soon publish “evidence” of the involvement of “British specialists” in the preparation and execution of the October 29 drone attack on the Russian fleet.

“False allegations of an epic scale”

Surprising by its modus operandi, this assault had motivated the temporary withdrawal of Russia from the agreement on the export of Ukrainian cereals, on which many countries of the South depend. “The preparation for this terrorist act and the training of the military personnel of the 73rd Ukrainian center for special maritime operations were carried out by British specialists based in Ochakiv, in the Mykolaiv region of Ukraine,” attacked the Russian Ministry of Defense the same day, without producing any elements likely to support these remarks. “False allegations of an epic scale”, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.

But the accusations don’t stop there. In the same breath, the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that members of a “unit of the British navy” allegedly participated in the September 26 sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 underwater gas pipelines, built to transport Russian gas to Europe through the Baltic Sea. Here too, Moscow is careful to date not to publish the “evidence” it claims to have, but relays an unsubstantiated theory according to which Liz Truss would have sent, in the wake of the sabotage, an SMS saying ” It is done “ to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

A week earlier, it was still Albion that the Russian army designated by waving the nuclear threat. The Russian authorities then swore to have discovered a secret plan hatched by Ukraine to design a “dirty bomb”, an agglomeration of conventional explosives and radioactive materials. Devoting a briefing to the subject on October 24, it was almost as an aside that Russian Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov accused the United Kingdom of maintaining ” contacts “ with Kyiv, the purpose of which would be to supply Ukraine with technologies for the production of nuclear weapons. The Kremlin will refrain that day from congratulating the conservative Rishi Sunak on his accession to 10 Downing Street.

Information warfare

Since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, London has positioned itself as an unreserved support for kyiv, particularly in military aid, of which it is the second most important supplier after the United States. The heightened tensions must also be seen in a broader context, says Ben Noble, professor of Russian politics at University College London: “The current Russian anger against the UK comes after many years of mutual mistrust. Relations between the UK and Russia were deeply shaken by the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006 and the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury in 2018.

These accusations also remind us of the informational dimension of this war. “Russia presents the war in Ukraine as a conflict with NATO, and primarily the ‘Anglo-Saxons’, of which Ukraine is only a pawn”, recalls Marina Miron, researcher at King’s College London. At a time when Moscow is struggling to regain the initiative on the battlefield, asserting that the United Kingdom and the United States are in charge is a way like any other to justify the difficulties of the“special military operation” in Ukraine in the eyes of the Russian population.

This Manichean story is also aimed at an international audience, particularly China, India and Saudi Arabia, says the researcher. “By presenting itself as a victim of the West, Russia seeks to legitimize its actions in Ukraine, because it needs the support of China and India. » Two countries that have expressed criticism of Vladimir Putin’s war in recent months.


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