22:12 GMT11 July 2020
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    EU leaders have issued a joint statement saying that the bloc agrees with the UK’s assessment that it’s highly likely that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury three weeks ago. Sputnik discussed this with James Petras, a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University.

    Sputnik: EU leaders have backed Theresa May despite her not presenting a single shred of evidence of Moscow’s involvement in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, why is that?

    James Petras: I think it's a question of mentality, the British government is recognized by most criminologists as absolutely no basis for the EU following England, it has no rationality, it has no evidence but it is doing it precisely because Britain forms part of the EU, the US has given tibias support, I think the British case can only be looked at as the follow up decision without any new rationale. I think the question is what substantive consequences are and there's no indication that new sanctions emerge from the main countries, France and Germany, and I think this is the significance. The EU may take a symbolic gesture of support of the EU, but I don't think anyone serious in the EU will comprehend this move.

    Sputnik: Is that why you think that the EU has not taken any serious retaliatory action against Moscow?

    James Petras: Yes. I think there's no belief in this, I've talked to people in Washington and there's serious doubts that this thing is merely a ploy by the Brits to bring the EU closer, particularly with Brexit, the UK departing and the conditions which will be very harmful for the City of London, and I think that the Brits are using this as a way of building bridges back to the EU, but I don't think it cuts much weight in this, I think it's a desperate ploy by the Brits to find a way of rebuilding bridges to the EU.

    Sputnik: After President Putin regained his presidency the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker actually sent a congratulatory note to President Putin that was received with indifference by the United Kingdom administration, how likely is it then the EU will toughen its rhetoric with Moscow for the sake of Theresa May, I would have though the EU is trying to strengthen these relations at the moment, they are having tough times with relations with America with the trade embargoes that are currently going on, so it is interesting times for the EU, isn't it?

    James Petras: Yes, especially since Trump called Putin and congratulated him, as did the Conservative government in Spain – Mr. Rajoy, and I think the rest of the EU pretty much followed in its tracks, so I think the Putin victory is an indication that the campaign to undermine President Putin was a complete flop, and I think the Brits were counting on the propaganda campaign against Putin to result in some kind of a decline in popularity of President Putin and that didn't happen, and the realists in the EU and Washington, particularly in the Trump administration, see that the fake poisoning issue as a straw man that they are not willing to make into a worldwide confrontation.

    Sputnik: What's the take from the US? What are the papers saying about it, what are the commentators are saying about this particular poisoning in the UK and this current indifference and the relationship now that's being created between the UK and Moscow?

    James Petras: The media have echoed the BBC line that it was a poison plot by the Russians, that there was a conspiracy by Putin and his secret agents to carry this out, but apart form the mass media, the general public has not given this very much importance, so there's a great divergency between civil society and the mass media.

    Sputnik: It is also reported that Greece has called on the UK to provide evidence of Russia's involvement in the alleged attack, the UK has also refused to cooperate with Russia on the matter, how do you think this particular story has gone down globally?

    James Petras: I would say in Latin America, Africa, Asia there's no credibility for the UK, as I mentioned, it is a very perfunctory solidarity in the EU leadership but no consequences there, no attention, and it is a subject of after dinner laughter, joking and they are calling for McGray the detective to look into what they are talking about, Agatha Christie tale but nobody else is taking this very serious I think. It's been a big flop worldwide, and where it has some impact it is very transitory.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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