The leaked report comes as relations between London and Moscow have deteriorated following the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal. Sputnik discussed this with Patrick Henningsen, an independent journalist based in the UK.
Sputnik: In your view, why is Theresa May preparing to criticize Russia now?
The details are also saying of extending an olive branch to Russia, they would like better relations with Russia, but at the same time really just doubling down on everything that has taken place already over the last two years or so with regards to the chilling relations between the UK and Russia.
Sputnik: Any idea what Mrs May will be talking about?
Recently, in the UK press, there is this idea, this assumption that all Russians in the UK are spies. I think some UK papers quoted it, up to 75,000 Russian spies, which is a little bit comical, considering at the height of Cold War, the maximum number of Soviet spies at any one time in the UK might have numbered something between 40 and a 100. But what it is, it is just, it's another feature in an overwhelming tactic to place Russia-Western relations under constant strain, constant tension.
Ultimately to, you know, the big picture is really to continue to disrupt, hamstring Western-Russian relations and ultimately to damage Russian economic development across its frontier, mainly we are talking about Eurasia and the Middle East. This is a general long-term policy, basically, and I think the United States and Britain are leading in that effort.
Sputnik: Media reports say that the prime minister is also expected to point out how that London is open to better relations with Moscow. In your view, how serious is Britain's desire to increase cooperation with Moscow?
So the accusations of espionage are totally arbitrary, basically. There is this is talk of collective action, this is something the prime minister keeps repeating: "we are very happy about the collective action that our allies have taken also to respond in the same way by expelling Russian spies or diplomats, and this is protecting the values and democracy."
Then she is really talking about the rapid reaction mechanism, which was announced at the G7 in June. What that is, is it's led by the UK and NATO member states, effectively, and the United States getting on the same page with regards to the public relations response to anything Russian-related. So this is really about coordinating public relations or you could say coordinating propaganda because that's the euphemism for public relations; to counter Russian influence or some sort of a Russian threat.
You will see this throughout the newspapers, the media, and the broadcast media. You'll see all these countries have agreed that this is their joint statement. That's what the rapid reaction mechanism is.
Sputnik: How likely are we to see a thaw in relations between the two countries?
So, I think that's the big picture and I think that's what the US and the UK want to protect — that and also to dislocate and to disconnect Russia from the West economically, diplomatically, legally and I think that's exactly what we are seeing taking place. In the long-term, it doesn't look very good.
Sputnik: What is the West's endgame here?
Patrick Henningsen: I think the West's endgame is to disrupt, hamstring, marginalize Western-Russian relations and ultimately to keep Russia from developing as an economic and a political force internationally and also to maintain some level of tension between Europe and Russia.
And so this benefits the United States and its wider geopolitical ambitions, maintain disposition as a unipolar hegemon globally.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Patrick Henningsen and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.