France, Germany, US, UK condemn nerve agent attack

Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON: France, Germany, the U.S. and the U.K. in a joint statement on Thursday condemned a nerve agent attack in the southern English city of Salisbury, which left a former Russian spy and his daughter critically ill.

Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were admitted to a hospital after being found unconscious on a bench on March 4.

“We, the leaders of France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom, abhor the attack that took place against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, UK, on 4 March 2018,” it said.

The statement said the attack also left a British police officer who was also exposed to the nerve agent seriously ill, and “the lives of many innocent British citizens have been threatened”.

“We express our sympathies to them all, and our admiration for the U.K. police and emergency services for their courageous response,” it said.

The joint statement from the U.K.’s NATO allies came a day after Britain announced to expel 23 Russian diplomats after concluding that Russia was responsible for the attack.

“This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War,” the statement said.

The statement called the attack an assault of the U.K.’s sovereignty and a breach of international law. It said the U.K. shared with the allies its assessment that “it was highly likely” that Russia was responsible for the attack.

“Our concerns are also heightened against the background of a pattern of earlier irresponsible Russian behaviour.

“We call on Russia to live up to its responsibilities as a member of the UN Security Council to uphold international peace and security,” it added. (AA)