The United States stands with its closest ally the United Kingdom and shares its assessment “that Russia is responsible for the reckless nerve agent attack on a British citizen and his daughter,” the White House declared in a written statement. “And we support the UK’s decision to expel Russian diplomats as a just response.”
Twenty-three Russian diplomats, whom the UK assessed were undeclared intelligence officials, have been told to leave the United Kingdom after British Prime Minister Theresa May concluded that the Russian government was behind the March 4 attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the southern English city of Salisbury. The two remain hospitalized, suffering effects from a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia. A policeman who was first on the scene of the attack was also hospitalized, and dozens of civilians and first responders were exposed.
“This latest action by Russia fits into a pattern of behavior in which Russia disregards the international rules-based order, undermines the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and attempts to subvert and discredit Western democratic institutions and processes,” the White House declared.
In an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley called Russia’s use of a military-grade nerve agent in Great Britain an “atrocious crime.”
“The Russians complained recently that we criticize them too much,” said Ambassador Haley. “If the Russian government stopped using chemical weapons to assassinate its enemies; and if the Russian government stopped helping its Syrian ally to use chemical weapons to kill Syrian children; and if Russia cooperated with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons by turning over all information related to this nerve agent, we would stop talking about them.”
Ambassador Haley challenged Russia “to fully cooperate with the UK’s investigation and come clean about its own chemical weapons program.” She also called on the Security Council to take “immediate, concrete measures” to address this matter.
“This is a defining moment,” Ambassador Haley declared. “Time and again, Member States say they oppose the use of chemical weapons under any circumstance. Now one member stands accused of using chemical weapons on the sovereign soil of another member. The credibility of this Council will not survive, if we fail to hold Russia accountable.”