Russia Slams UK Over "Completely Irresponsible Statements" On Salisbury Attack
Russia has again insisted it had nothing to do with the chemical nerve agent attack on a former double agent and his daughter in the UK.
Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain in critical condition in a British hospital.
The UN Security Council held an urgent meeting to discuss the attack this evening.
Opening the meeting, Britain’s deputy UN ambassador Jonathan Allen said hundreds of his countrymen had potentially been exposed to the agent.
He said the pair were poisoned with ‘Novichok’ - which he insisted is a weapon that cannot be manufactured without the use of the highest grade state laboratories.
He called it a "despicable act."
“This was no common crime,” he said. “It was an unlawful use of force.”
“A violation of Article Two of the United Nations charter – the basis of the international legal order.”
He noted that Russia had failed to respond to Britain’s ultimatum for an explanation as to how the agent could have fallen into anyone else’s hands – and noted that Novichok was not among the list of agents that Russia declared as destroyed after it signed the Chemical Weapons Convention.
It comes after the British Prime Minister blamed Russia for the attack and announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats as part of a range of measures in response.
It is the biggest expulsion since the Cold War.
The UN Security Council meeting, 14-03-2018. Image: Li Muzi/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
At the Security Council meeting in New York however, Russian representative Vasily Nebenzya accused Mrs May of making "completely irresponsible statements" and "threats to a sovereign state."
Russia has said it will not respond to Britain's ultimatum until it receives samples of the chemical used in the attack.
Mr Nebenzya said Britain’s ultimatum would be ignored describing it as “null and void.” He said Russia demanded proof that traces of Novichok had been found.
“This is not optional. This is a mandatory requirement under the convention,” he said.
“We stand ready for such an investigation; We have nothing to fear; we have nothing to hide.”
Meanwhile, the US Ambassador Nikki Haley said America stands in “absolute solidarity with Great Britain.”
“The United State believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military grade nerve agent,” she said.
“Dozens of civilians and first responders were also exposed.”
France also offered its full support, alongside Sweden and Poland.