Corbyn calls for ‘diplomatic confrontation’ with Russia
Jeremy Corbyn said he had wanted to see “clear evidence” against Russia.
Jeremy Corbyn has said there must be a “diplomatic confrontation” with Russia over Salisbury and cyber attacks.
The Labour leader denied he was slow to accept evidence of Russia’s involvement in the poisoning attack in the UK and its malign influence on international affairs.
Mr Corbyn was targeted by Prime Minister Theresa May in her Conservative Party conference speech on Wednesday for allegedly refusing to “lay the blame squarely where it belonged.”
She contrasted Clement Atlee and other past Labour leaders’ pro-West and pro-Nato approach to the alleged stance taken by Mr Corbyn to Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
But speaking on a visit to Leeds, Mr Corbyn said he had wanted to see “clear evidence” which was now “very, very strong” against Russia and the time had come to act.
He said: “First of all confront Russia with the evidence, remove any diplomats that clearly are not diplomats and are masquerading as something else and confront Russia with it but also strengthen international organisations and their protections such as the UN and the Organisation for Prevention of Chemical Warfare.
“The evidence is clearly against Russia on both the Salisbury attack and of course on the latest cyber attacks so there has to be a confrontation, a diplomatic confrontation, with Russia on this.
“Clearly the evidence now is very, very strong on Russia, I said so in fact in my speech to the Labour Party conference.
“All the evidence points again to Russia on the cyber attacks and the Dutch are clearly involved in this investigation as well, but I think we have to make clear that we have to make everything protective against cyber attacks from any state or from any organisation because clearly cyber security is going to become more and more important as the years go on.”
While Mr Corbyn said his past criticism of Nato was “perfectly sustainable” he wanted to remain on good terms with the Russians.
He added: “What I want is positive relations with Russia but that does mean diplomatically confronting them with the evidence both of what happened in Salisbury and of course the more recent cyber issues that come up.
“Listen, any country or any organisation that undertakes cyber attacks against any of us needs to be confronted with that.”
Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in Russia in March while Russian spies have been accused of involvement in a series of cyber plots across the globe.
Other targets allegedly include the global chemical weapons watchdog, anti-doping agencies and a US nuclear company.