Poisoned: Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Theresa May is set to announce a series of punitive measures against Russia this week, accusing that country’s government of poisoning former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter with a nerve agent last week.

She may decide to expel Russian diplomats and/or revoke the visas of Russians in the UK (one wonders if this will prompt a run on London property prices – billionaire Russians could retaliate by putting their townhouses up for sale).

But she won’t be returning more than £800,000 that has been donated to the Conservative Party by Russians now living in the UK, even though the provenance of the cash may be questionable.

The reaction from some of us has been predictable – and right:

Yes indeed – what were they providing to these donors?

Then there’s the following:

What? 14 people with links to Russia have died under mysterious circumstances but the deaths were hushed up?

And these Tories have been taking Russian money.

If the Tries won’t give it back, perhaps there should be an investigation into who provided it and what it funded.

Philip Hammond has refused a plea by the widow of murdered Alexander Litvinenko for the Tories to pay back more than £820,000 donated by Russian oligarchs, insisting the cash is legitimate.

The Chancellor also denied the Kremlin is “laughing at us” over Britain’s response to the killing and the suspicion that Russia was also involved in the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal.

Marina Litvinenko called for the return of the Russian cash – given since Theresa May became Prime Minister – saying: “You need to be very careful who you are friends with.”

But Mr Hammond insisted there were “very strict rules” surrounding donations, which could only come from British citizens and were “carefully vetted”.

“There are people in this country who are British citizens who are of Russian origin. I don’t think we should taint them, or should tar them with Putin’s brush,” he said.

Source: Philip Hammond refuses plea from Litvinenko’s widow for Tories to pay back more than £800,000 of donations from Russian oligarchs

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