21 March 2018

US is ‘with the UK all the way’ over Russian spy poisoning

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Donald Trump has told Theresa May that the US is ‘with the UK all the way’ over the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, Downing Street said. The US president agreed with the prime minister that Russia must provide clear answers about the attack in Salisbury, Wiltshire. reports citing

The two leaders discussed the incident during a phone call on Tuesday afternoon. In a statement, the White House said: ‘President Trump agreed with Prime Minister May that the government of the Russian Federation must provide unambiguous answers regarding how this chemical weapon, developed in Russia, came to be used in the United Kingdom. ‘The two leaders agreed on the need for consequences for those who use these heinous weapons in flagrant violation of international norms.’

It comes after Russia revealed it will not respond to the British Government’s ultimatum by its midnight deadline. The Russian Embassy in the UK warned Moscow will only respond once it is given access to samples of the nerve agent used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

The British Government previously said it was considering various sanctions against Russia. In response, the Embassy said: ‘Any threat to take ‘punitive’ measures against Russia will meet with a response. The British side should be aware of that.’ Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, Theresa May said the Russian ambassador has been ordered to explain how the ‘military grade’ nerve agent she described as ‘potentially catastrophically damaging’ ended up in Salisbury.

The prime minister said the incident was either ‘a direct act by the Russian state against our country’, or Russia ‘lost control’ of the powerful nerve agent it had produced, and it fell into the wrong hands. In the event of no credible response from Russia, the Government will consider the attack as an ‘unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom’, she added.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told the Russian ambassador Alexander Yakovenko that Moscow must ‘immediately provide full and complete disclosure’ of its novichok nerve gas programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Russia were given until the end of Tuesday to respond.

2018.03.13 / 23:36
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