SCOTLAND is bracing itself for a Kremlin backlash amid fears for the future of whisky exports to Russia.

Theresa May is today expected to outline economic or other sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s regime after the poisonings of Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.

Her moves are likely to provoke tit-for-tat reprisals from Russia, where politicians as recently as last year have been calling for a ban on Scotch and gin.

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Whisky sources stress it is too soon to panic and industry leaders are understood to be watching developments closely. Veteran distilling expert Billy Walker said: “Anything of this kind is of concern. It upsets the equilibrium.”

The last round of sanctions against the Putin Kremlin hit the whisky industry as the ruble fell and Russians turned back to vodka. However, sales in Russia have since bounced back thanks to a weaker pound.

The SNP has backed Theresa May over Russia with a senior party figure even suggesting that the police should quiz Mr Putin’s emissary in Edinburgh.

Britain’s response to the Salisbury may include a crackdown on Kremlin propaganda outlets such as RT, where former first minister Alex Salmond has a controversial show.

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Russia will refuse to meet Theresa May’s midnight deadline unless Britain agrees to send Moscow samples of the nerve agent used to Mr Skripal.

The country’s embassy in the UK warned the threat of sanctions would “meet with a response”.

It comes as President Donald Trump told Mrs May in a phone call the US was “with the UK all the way”, according to Downing Street. Mrs May says it is “highly likely” Russia was responsible for the attack.