UK spy poisoning: Russia tells UN it did not make nerve agent used in attack
Russia UK spy poisoning: Russia tells UN it did not make nerve agent used in attack
Russian envoy suggests Britain itself may have been behind the attack as UK allies support Londonâs assertion
Russia told the UN security council on Wednesday that it had never made or even researched novichok nerve agents, which the UK alleges were used in the Salisbury attack on a former Russia spy and his daughter.
In a heated council debate, the Russian envoy, Vissaly Nebenzia, rejected UK accusations of responsibility and suggested that the British government might have carried out the attack itself in an effort to âtarnishâ Russia ahead of the football World Cup this summer.
However, the UK received overwhelming support from its allies on the council, including the US. The US envoy, Nikki Haley, delivered the most unambiguous statement of support from the Trump administration so far.Novichok: nerve agent produced at only one site in Russia, says expert Read more
Presenting the UK case to the UN security council on Wednesday, the deputy permanent representative, Jonathan Allen, said Russia was âin serious breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention through its failure to declare the novichok programmeâ.
âThis fact alone means you should discount any arguments you hear about the possibility of other countries having inherited this technology,â he said.
âThis was no common crime. It was an unlawful use of force, a violation of ... the United Nations charter, the basis of the international legal order,â Allen said.
In his response, the Russian envoy to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, told the council: âNo scientific research or development under the title novichok were carried out.â He alleged the Salisbury attack was a false-flag attack, possibly by the UK itself, intended to harm Russiaâs reputation. âMost probable source of this agent are the countries who have carried out research on these weapons, including Britain,â Nebenzia said.
The Russian ambassador sought to turn the tables on the UK, claiming that Theresa Mayâs letter to the UN, outlining UK grounds for accusing Russia, was itself a âthreat to a sovereign stateâ.
âThe letter contains completely irresponsible statements which are even difficult for me to comment on using diplomatic vocabulary,â the Russian envoy said.
He later told reporters that the case belonged at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.
âWe are ready to cooperate,â he said.
Allen pointed out that the UK had already called in the OPCW to take part in the investigation. He described extensive evidence that novichok nerve agents had been developed by the Soviet Union and bequeathed to Russia.
In her statement on behalf of the US, Haley said: âLet me make one thing clear from the very beginning: the United States stands in absolute solidarity with Great Britain. The United States believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent,â Haley said.
âThis is a defining moment. Time and time again, member states say they oppose the use of chemical weapons under any circumstance. Now, one member stands accused of using chemica l weapons on the sovereign soil of another member. The credibility of this council will not survive if we fail to hold Russia accountable.â
The French ambassador, FranÃ§ois Delattre, made a similar declaration backing the UK position, offering âthe full support and complete solidarity of France for the UKâ.
âWe have reached a new stage: the use of a substance never declared to the OPCW used in a public area in the territory of a European country,â DeLattre said.Topics
- Sergei Skripal
- United Nations
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