Donald MacLeod: Dancing PM has shown some fancy footwork on Russia but now she has to put Putin on the floor

CCTV image issued by the Metropolitan Police of Russian Nationals Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov on Fisherton Road, Salisbury. (Press Association)
CCTV image issued by the Metropolitan Police of Russian Nationals Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov on Fisherton Road, Salisbury. (Press Association)

UNDER fire and under pressure PM Theresa May might dance like a splintered wooden marionette with lopsided rusty wires.

She may also be accused of side-stepping Brexit negotiations as members of her cabinet continue to pick away at her desperate Chequers Proposal.

An unravelling that will open the door to the prospect of the UK leaving the EU under a no-deal dog’s Brexit next March.

I don’t like her party or politics but, credit where it’s due, when it comes to speaking about national security, she delivers.

On Wednesday, she coolly revealed to the House of Commons the names of the two Russian spies the Met believe were behind the Salisbury Novichok poison plot.

And she revealed that she had ordered our security services to engage in a cyber war and target Russia’s GRU, their military intelligence unit.

No one in her party and certainly not the lame Labour opposition and their leader Jeremy Corbyn can lay a glove on her.

On this subject she is quite simply the best, the ice queen of the despatch box.

Quite a feat for someone whose choice of fashionable footwear is usually the only things she’s given credit for.

What she spelled out in no uncertain terms was that President Putin was behind the Salisbury Novichok chemical poisoning attack on Sergei Skirpal, his daughter Yulia, Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, which resulted in the death of poor, innocent Dawn.

And she revealed that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, captured several times on CCTV, were the assassins.

Or were they?

There is some doubt now being cast over whether Putin was actually in the loop at all, with some suggesting the attack is an effort by some other shady Ivan’s within the Kremlin to undermine and ultimately unseat him.

That there is no way, given his spying background, he would have allowed his assassins to have been brazenly identified so easily.

Others ask why it took so long for the UK Government to present their evidence, and if it was all a ploy to deflect attention away from the Tories’ Brexit woes.

I’m not buying any of that conspiracy theory nonsense. Putin is a murderous thug, end of! But be that as it Theresa May.

The problem is that, even with the evidence stacked against Russia, there is next to nothing the UK can do about it.

Russia will not extradite Petrov and Boshirov, if that is indeed their real names, to the UK to face justice.

They will lie and deny, scream it’s an injustice, and that they are being made the scapegoats by the West, as they did with the radioactive poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the suspicious deaths of many other UK-based Russians that were enemies of Putin.

To most Russians, Putin is a god-like hero and all those who criticise him, especially if they are Russian-born, are traitors and deserve to die.

As for the UK, Russia knows we can’t compete militarily, that due to Brexit and Trump, the EU and its NATO allies are split and don’t really have the gumption for a face off.

So, like most insecure and paranoid bullies, they will continue to seize the moment, use attack as the best form of defence by saying what they want, and doing what they want, when they want, regardless of the cost.

Unless the UK and the West finds its resolve and stand together and face down this bullying Beast from the East and put him back in his cage, the whole world could be about to fall into the abyss.

Preventing any old Russians from getting visas to enter the UK, seizing their assets, freezing their ill-gotten wealth and causing mayhem on their computer systems would be a start.

Maybe, and it’s a big maybe, it would then be Novichok mate against Putrid Putin.