Russia has been busily calling the U.K. “completely insane” over accusations that the Kremlin ordered the attempted murder of an ex-Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, via a nerve agent on U.K. soil. British Prime Minister Theresa May announced the largest expulsion of Russia diplomats in U.K. history, and Russia began ejecting U.K. diplomats as well. However, the matter has now drawn in other global powers, for — in a stunning display of unity against Russia — President Trump has joined May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron with a joint statement to condemn the poisoning. The statement directly blames Russia with no wiggle room:
“We share the U.K. assessment that there is no plausible alternative explanation, and note that Russia’s failure to address the legitimate request by the U.K. government further underlines its responsibility. We call on Russia to address all questions related to the attack in Salisbury. Russia should in particular provide full and complete disclosure of the Novichok programme to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons We call on Russia to live up to its responsibility as a member of the U.N. Security Council to uphold international peace and security.”
The U.K. stance has been a united one for the entirety of this week with Secretary of State Boris Johnson (in lockstep with May) declaring of Russia, “They want to simultaneously deny it and at the same time to glory in it.” Indeed, Russia denies everything to do with this poisoning and is blaming the U.K. for withholding information, despite an inquiry into the 2006 murder of former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko determining that Vladimir Putin “probably” ordered the murder via polonium-210 in London.
So, the cohesive U.K. front is no surprise, but that France has now shifted from its cautionary stance, and President Trump is now onboard? That’s remarkable. Trump previously issued a lukewarm statement on the matter, but the White House slammed the attack as “aborrrent.” And U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley came out with guns blazing while demanding an “immediate concrete” response. The fallout over the poisoning will be enormous.
(Via The Telegraph)