The Russia connectionBritish PM says “highly likely” Russia was behind nerve-agent attack
British Prime Minister Theresa May says evidence shows that it is “highly likely” that Russia is behind the nerve-agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in the city of Salisbury despite Kremlin denials that Moscow was involved in the incident. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said police were examining more than 200 pieces of evidence, had identified more than 240 witnesses, and were looking through security camera footage.
British Prime Minister Theresa May says evidence shows that it is “highly likely” that Russia is behind the nerve-agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in the city of Salisbury despite Kremlin denials that Moscow was involved in the incident.
May said in a speech to parliament on March 12 that either the Russian state was responsible for poisoning 66-year-old Sergei Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia in the city of Salisbury, or that it allowed the military grade nerve agent Novichok, developed in the Soviet Union near the end of the Cold War, to get into the hands of others to carry out the attack.
She added that Russia’s ambassador had been summoned to explain how the nerve agent came to be used against the former spy and given until the end of 13 March to explain how the chemical made its way to Britain.
“Should there be no credible response, we will conclude that this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom,” May said, calling the attack a “reckless and despicable act.”
“We will not tolerate such a brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil,” she added.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the United States stands by the country’s “closest ally.”
“The use of a highly lethal nerve agent against U.K. citizens on U.K. soil is an outrage,” Sanders said during a daily White House briefing. “The attack was reckless, indiscriminate and irresponsible. We offer the fullest condemnation.”
Officials say the pair remain in a “critical but stable condition” at a Salisbury hospital after being exposed on 4 March to a nerve agent.
A police officer who fell ill after attending the Skripals also remains seriously ill.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry was quick to denounce May’s speech, saying in a statement that the accusations were politically motivated and based on a provocation.
“It is a circus show in the British parliament,” the TASS news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as