World News

Britain to seek European Union condemnation of Russian Federation over nerve agent attack

Britain to seek European Union condemnation of Russian Federation over nerve agent attack

In the last few minutes, the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, has used the prime minister's language about the Salisbury attack, accepting and agreeing with the British verdict that there is no other "plausible" explanation for what happened.

Mr Varadkar said that the joint European Union statement was changed to say that leaders "agreed" with the British assessment, rather than simply being "concerned" about it.

Britain has blamed Russian Federation for the attack earlier this month, but Moscow has denied any responsibility. Britain has announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats, and Russia has responded in kind.

The deepening diplomatic crisis has seen Britain throw out 23 Russian diplomats, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Moscow.

May earlier said the incident took place "against the backdrop of a well-established pattern of Russian state aggression across Europe and beyond".

The British leader will hold crisis talks on the poisoning with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel before briefing all the European Union leaders on the investigation.

Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent on March 4 and found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, UK.

The sources said the most severe option being considered is for the U.S. to expel more Russian diplomats.

Thanking them on behalf of President Vladimir Putin, who on Sunday after his re-election repeated that Moscow had played no part in the attack, Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko said: "We are proud of you".

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British Prime Minister Theresa May says European Union leaders must unite to counter a threat from Russian Federation that "doesn't respect borders".

Pritchard said the investigation was "highly likely to take many months" as he paid tribute to Bailey.

Highlighting the bloc's familiar divisions on how to handle Russia, Slovakia's new prime minister, Peter Pellegrini, said he wanted "constructive dialogue" with Moscow despite the poisoning of the Skripals.

He also said Vladimir Putin was hoping to exploit Russia's forthcoming football World Cup as a propaganda exercise, in the same way Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler used the Munich 1936 Olympics.

Asked whether Lithuania would take similar action, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said: "We are considering such measures".

In a joint statement the council had said its members will "co-ordinate on the consequences to be drawn in the light of the answers provided by the Russian authorities".

On Tuesday, Moscow had invited all ambassadors to Russian Federation to a meeting with foreign ministry experts to hear its views on the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in an English city earlier this month.

Mr Yermakov's briefing was interrupted when British diplomat Emma Nottingham said there had been "a barrage of distortion and misinformation" as well as "an unlawful use of force against the United Kingdom".

"It is also unclear whether they are in Salisbury", the ambassador added.


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