Boris Johnson Threatens World Cup Boycott If Russia Behind Mystery Spy Incident

Just hours after a former Obama administration official tweeted a news story blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for swaying Italy's weekend parliamentary election in favor of Euroskeptic parties (of course the strong gains made by the Five Star Movement had nothing to do with Italy's massive debt load or its 38% youth unemployment rate), UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson told MPs in the House of Commons that Russia is a "malign and destructive" force and promised it would be "brought to heel" following the suspected poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia Skripal.

Skripaltwo

The elder Skripal, 66, and his daughter, who is in her 30s, were found collapsed on a bench at a shopping center in Salisbury, South England, on Sunday. Both are in critical condition and are being treated at Salisbury Hospitals. They were discovered by a 33-year-old woman who was known to the both of them.

Per Reuters, Britain will respond robustly if proof of Russia's involvement is discovered.

"There is much speculation about the disturbing incident in Salisbury, where a 66-year-old man, Sergei Skripal, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, were found unconscious," Johnson told parliament.

"While it would be wrong to pre-judge the investigation, I can reassure the House that should evidence emerge that implies state responsibility, then her majesty’s government will respond appropriately and robustly."

UK police are still working to try and pinpoint what "unknown substance" harmed the Skripals. Officers discovered the pair, who had no physical injuries, at the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury, per the BBC.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden said the "major incident" response from the attack didn't amount to a counter-terrorism investigation, but that multiple agencies were involved, repudiating reports that the investigation had been taken over by counterterrorism officials.

Skripal

Skripal, a retired Russian military intelligence officer, was jailed for 13 years by Russia in 2006 after he was outed as a double-agent for the UK and convicted of passing the identities of Russian intelligence agents working undercover in Europe to the UK's Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.

Johnson also told MPs that the Skripal case had "echoes" of the death of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, another former Russian spy who had defected to the UK.

He added that "no attempt to take innocent lives on our soil will go unpunished," while accusing Russia of trying to undermine the international order.

"Russia has challenged fundamental basis of international order," Johnson said..."this house has profound differences with Russia."

Prime Minister Theresa May, meanwhile, has said she won't comment on the case because of the ongoing investigation.

Skripal was granted refuge in the UK eight years ago after he was one of four prisoners involved in a spy swap between the US and Russia. The substance used has not been formally identified by Public Health England.

If Russia is behind the attack, England could even pull out of the upcoming World Cup in retaliation of Russia Behind Salisbury incident.

"And for my own part I think it will be very difficult to see how...thinking ahead to the World Cup this July, this summer...I think it would be that it would be difficult to imagine that UK representation at the event could go ahead in the normal way. We will certainly have to consider that."

Of course, given the fact that the circumstances surrounding the apparent poisoning are not yet known, what's more ridiculous: Claiming that Vladimir Putin personally approved the poisoning of the Skripals, or suspecting that any one of a number of backers - including quite possibly the UK intelligence service - could've been behind the it.

Meanwhile, according to Bloomberg, the Kremlin said Russia hasn't been approached by British authorities to help in the investigation. But Dimitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, said Tuesday at a daily conference call with media in Russia that "Moscow is always ready to cooperate."