UK and allies issue statement condemning Russia for ex-spy attack


The UK has issued a joint statement with France, Germany and the US condemning the Salisbury attack on an ex-Russian spy, calling it "an assault on UK sovereignty" and threatening "the security of us all".

They agreed that Russia being behind the attack was the only plausible explanation.

In a statement, the leaders said:

This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War.

It is an assault on UK sovereignty and any such use by a State party is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and a breach of international law. It threatens the security of us all.

Read more: Russia hits back over UK "provocation"… and blames Brexit

Sergei Skripal and his daughter remain critically ill in hospital after being found very unwell in Salisbury. It was later revealed a nerve agent was used on the former Russian spy and his daughter.

The UK had briefed its allies that it was "highly likely" Russia was responsible for the attack, and the statement backed this assessment saying there was no plausible alternative explanation. Russia has not provided an explanation as to how the agent came to be used in the UK, the government has said.

"We call on Russia to address all questions related to the attack in Salisbury," the leaders added, and called on Russia to live up to its responsibilities as a member of the UN Security Council to uphold international peace and security.

The UK has expelled 23 Russian diplomats in the wake of the incident, but Russia has hit back, calling the UK's response "signs of provocation against our country".

It said it had "no connection" to what happened in Britain.

Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov claimed London was using it as a distraction from Brexit, describing the government as behaving in a "boorish" way. Those who accused Russia were "guided by a sick and warped logic", he added.

The Prime Minister stated that the UK government will:

  • Expel 23 Russian diplomats who have been identified as undeclared intelligence officers
  • Develop proposals for new legislative powers to harden our defences against Hostile State Activity and ensure those seeking to carry out such activity cannot enter the UK
  • Suspend all planned high-level contacts between the UK and the Russian Federation

Read more: Defence secretary: "Frankly, Russia should go away and shut up"

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