Britain Seeks UN Action over Spy Attack, Expels Russian Diplomats

Britain Seeks UN Action over Spy Attack, Expels Russian Diplomats

Wednesday, 14 March, 2018 - 12:15
United Nations Security Council. Reuters file photo
Asharq Al-Awsat
The Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Wednesday at Britain's request to discuss the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a Russian former double agent in England, the British mission to the United Nations said, as Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the UK will expel 23 Russian diplomats.

Britain will brief council members during the open meeting at 1900 GMT on Novichok, a nerve agent first developed by the Soviet military in the 1970s and 1980s.

"The Russian state was culpable of the attempted murder" of Skripal and his daughter, PM May told lawmakers.

Other than the expulsion of diplomats, May said the UK will suspend high-level diplomatic contact with Russia.

She also said British royals and government ministers will not attend the World Cup in Russia.

Skripal, 66, and and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found slumped unconscious on a bench outside a shopping center in the genteel southern English city of Salisbury on March 4. They have been in a critical condition in hospital ever since.

The United States, European Union and NATO have voiced support for Britain over the poisoning case.

"Moscow had nothing to do with what happened in Britain. It will not accept any totally unfounded accusations directed against it and will also not accept the language of ultimatums," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

He said Russia remained open to cooperating with Britain in investigating the poisoning, blaming the British authorities for refusing to share information.

Russia's Interfax news agency reported the Russian embassy in London planned to ask for consular access to Yulia Skripal.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that there was no progress in resolving the standoff with Britain.

"There is only regress, we don't see any progress," Lavrov said, criticizing Britain for accusing Russia of involvement in the attack and describing such claims as neither robust nor serious.

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