Author: Not mentioned
Posted on: DW.com | March 13th, 2018
The EU will stand with the UK in any action against Russia over a nerve agent attack on British soil, a senior official has said. Russia says there’s no connection and has summoned the British ambassador.
The European Union has offered Britain solidarity after London accused Russia of being behind a nerve agent attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury. The promise by Valdis Dombrovskis, the vice president of the European Commission, comes amid uncertainty in Britain regarding security cooperation after it leaves the EU at the end of March 2019.
What has been said:
– When asked whether the EU might impose sanctions of Russia if it was agreed that Moscow was responsible for the attack, Dombrovskis said: «Of course, the UK can count on EU solidarity in this regard.- German conservative politician Norbert Roettgen, who chairs the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, told Reuters news agency that there should be a joint Western response if Russia refuses to cooperate in the investigation of the attack.
– The French Foreign Ministry called the attack «totally unacceptable.»
– The US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has also said Washington would stand by Britain after the attack, adding that Russia must face «serious consequences» if it was found to be behind the incident.- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia would cooperate with the investigation only if it received samples of the nerve agent believed to have made the ex-spy and his daughter ill. He said Moscow’s requests to see samples had been turned down, while insisting that Russia was not connected with the incident.
– British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday that it was highly likely Moscow was to blame, as the substance had been identified as part of a group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet military in the 1970s and 1980s. She said the government would discuss retaliatory measures with the British parliament if Moscow had not given a «credible response» by the end of Tuesday.
How has Russia reacted so far? In addition to Lavrov’s denials of involvement, Russian news agencies say the Foreign Ministry has summoned the British ambassador in Moscow over the case.
What happened in the attack? Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on a bench in the southern English city of Salisbury on March 4. They remain in critical but stable condition in hospital. A policeman who attended to them is also in critical condition, but conscious.
Who is Sergei Skripal? Skripal was a colonel in Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU, before he was found guilty of betraying Russian agents to MI6, Britain’s foreign intelligence service. In 2010, he arrived in Britain as part of a spy swap deal between London and Moscow.