Russia slams UK at UN Security Council meeting on nerve agent attack

A United Nations Security Council meeting on the poisoning of a Russian former spy and his daughter in the United Kin...

Posted: Apr 6, 2018 10:03 AM
Updated: Apr 6, 2018 10:03 AM

A United Nations Security Council meeting on the poisoning of a Russian former spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom began Thursday with the Russian representative questioning the evidence made public in the case.

Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia blasted the UK, calling the spy poison allegations against Russia a "fake story."

The Russian UN diplomat warned "we have told our British colleagues that they are playing with fire and they will be sorry."

Asked after the meeting what he meant by saying the UK would be sorry, Nebenzi replied that if the UK's accusation was untrue, "a normal person should be sorry for that."

He accused the United Kingdom of turning other countries against Russia.

"You started a wave that even reached New York," he said.

Moscow, emboldened after the UK was forced to withdraw a claim that its scientists had pinned the blame on Russia for the attack, further attempted to embarrass Britain in front of its international allies.

But the UN ambassador from the UK, Karen Pierce, said she would not be lectured by Russia.

Russia refused to help when the UK asked early in the investigation, Pierce said.

Pierce told the Council "we all know why that investigation is underway. It's because a military grade nerve agent was used in an attempt to kill civilians on British soil. It was carried out recklessly and it was carried out without regard for public safety."

Russian officials say Pierce has done much to block investigations into the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Battle of barbs continues

A month after former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in the English city of Salisbury, the United Kingdom and Russia remain locked in a battle over who is to blame.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said it was "highly likely" the attack was ordered by the Russian government. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the accusation. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that the affair was a "pretext" for the expulsion of Russian diplomats around the world.

On Wednesday, Moscow failed in its efforts to persuade the chemical weapons watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, to allow a joint UK-Russia investigation into the attack. The OPCW is already carrying out an independent investigation at the UK's request, and expects to receive the results of its analysis within a week. Britain is also carrying out its own inquiry, with support from the OPCW.

Attention has turned to the United Nations. It was the second time the Security Council discussed the poisoning. At a March 15 meeting that was called by the UK, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley blasted the Russian government for the attack and called for a firm international response.

Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, remain in Salisbury District Hospital following the attack on March 4. Sergei Skripal is described as in a critical but stable condition.

Yulia Skripal announced Thursday that she had woken up "over a week ago" and that her "strength is growing daily."

"I am grateful for the interest in me and for the many messages of goodwill that I have received," Skripal said in a statement released on her behalf by London's Metropolitan Police.

"I have many people to thank for my recovery and would especially like to mention the people of Salisbury that came to my aid when my father and I were incapacitated. Further than that, I would like to thank the staff at Salisbury District Hospital for their care and professionalism," she said.

"I am sure you appreciate that the entire episode is somewhat disorientating, and I hope that you'll respect my privacy and that of my family during the period of my convalescence," she added.

Pierce declined to answer whether British authorities had interviewed Skripal.

A Russian state television station reported Thursday that Viktoria Skripal, the cousin of Yulia Skripal, said she had spoken to Yulia by phone.

UK experts believe the Skripals were poisoned with a Russian-made nerve agent, Novichok.

The Times of London, citing unnamed sources, reported on Thursday that UK security services had pinpointed the location of the Russian laboratory that manufactured the nerve agent.

Putin: Common sense must prevail

On Wednesday, speaking at a trilateral summit with Turkey and Iran, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters he wanted to see "a healthy political process" based on international law.

"We are not expecting anything but common sense to prevail; international relations will not tolerate the recent damage done," he said.

The UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats in the wake of the attack, sparking a wave of similar moves by UK allies around the world. The US expelled 60 Russian diplomats as part of the international effort. Moscow responded by kicking out diplomats from at least 23 countries, including 60 American diplomats. It also ordered the closure of the US consulate in St. Petersburg.

Lavrov said Thursday that Russia wants "to find the truth" about the poisoning in Salisbury and that "provocations are being arranged" in the Skripal case to demonize Russia.

He claimed that many countries had been pressured into supporting the UK and described the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats as "an open mocking of diplomatic ethics" that had not seen for a long time.

Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom Alexander Yakovenko told a news conference Thursday that Russia has "no information about Yulia Skripal, we don't know about Sergei."

Speaking to reporters at the Russian Embassy in London, Yakovenko said Yulia's cousin Viktoria was "waiting for the visa in Moscow, a British visa. We will see what will be the outcome of that visit."

He repeated Russia's complaint that Britain is not allowing it access to its citizens, Sergei and Yulia Skripal, or to the British investigation into their poisoning. The UK government must be "transparent" about the evidence, he said.

Yakovenko said Russia would accept the result of the OPCW investigation -- but suggested that its validity would depend on which nations' experts were involved. "These results should be confirmed by the international community, so we want to see who are the experts," he said.

Questions around nerve agent's source

Questions continue to dog the investigation into the attack on the Skripals, who were found slumped on a bench at an outdoor shopping complex in Salisbury. UK police believe they came into contact with the military-grade nerve agent on Skripal's front door.

On Tuesday, UK scientists said that while they had identified the nerve agent as Novichok, they were unable to say exactly where it had been manufactured.

"We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government, who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions you have come to," Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the UK government laboratory at Porton Down, told Sky News on Tuesday.

Further complicating the picture, the UK Foreign Office confirmed on Wednesday it had deleted a tweet that claimed that British chemical weapons experts believed Russia had produced the nerve agent. The Foreign Office said the tweet was "truncated and did not accurately report" a briefing by the British ambassador to Moscow last month.

The British government says the scientific analysis from Porton Down forms only part of the picture. It insists that only Russia had the capability to carry out the attack, that Moscow had identified former double agents as legitimate targets, and was known for its involvement in state-sponsored attacks in the past.

In its report on Thursday, the Times of London cited security sources claiming that the location for the manufacture of the Novichok had been identified "using scientific analysis and intelligence in the days after the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal a month ago."

The Times said security sources didn't have "100% certainty" but there was a high degree of confidence in the location. The UK government had known about the facility's existence before the attack on March 4, it added.

The UK Foreign Office refused to comment on The Times' report. "We have nothing more to add to that story," a spokesman told CNN.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 34574

Reported Deaths: 2134
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9853578
Lake3616190
Allen161869
Cass15877
Elkhart132228
St. Joseph127434
Hendricks116971
Hamilton115993
Johnson1105108
Madison58659
Porter53928
Bartholomew51135
Clark50441
LaPorte43323
Howard40828
Tippecanoe4023
Jackson3891
Delaware38537
Shelby37322
Hancock33827
Floyd31839
Boone31535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2742
Montgomery24117
White2358
Noble23221
Clinton2321
Decatur22431
Grant21122
Dubois1993
Harrison19422
Henry18211
Greene16924
Vigo1698
Dearborn16821
Monroe16612
Warrick16628
Lawrence16324
Miami1401
Putnam1377
Kosciusko1351
Jennings1304
Orange12822
Scott1203
Franklin1108
Ripley1096
Marshall1082
Carroll932
Daviess8816
Steuben832
Wayne825
LaGrange812
Wabash782
Newton7810
Fayette777
Jasper671
Washington521
Jay520
Clay511
Fulton491
Rush472
Randolph473
Pulaski460
Jefferson451
Whitley423
Starke393
DeKalb371
Sullivan361
Owen351
Brown331
Perry330
Wells320
Benton300
Huntington282
Knox280
Tipton251
Blackford252
Crawford240
Fountain212
Switzerland200
Spencer201
Parke180
Gibson172
Posey160
Adams151
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0167

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 120260

Reported Deaths: 5390
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook779253642
Lake8331291
DuPage7707373
Kane6338178
Will5566276
Winnebago225155
McHenry156672
St. Clair113782
Kankakee91045
Kendall79819
Rock Island65824
Champaign6407
Madison58060
Boone45217
DeKalb4164
Sangamon35129
Jackson28610
Randolph2704
Peoria2339
McLean22013
Ogle2063
Stephenson2062
Macon19319
Clinton18617
Union15411
LaSalle15313
Whiteside14013
Iroquois1324
Coles12715
Out of IL1181
Warren1170
Jefferson10116
Knox1000
Grundy982
Monroe9512
McDonough8811
Unassigned850
Lee811
Cass730
Tazewell735
Henry690
Williamson672
Pulaski560
Marion500
Jasper457
Macoupin452
Adams441
Perry410
Vermilion401
Montgomery391
Morgan361
Christian354
Livingston342
Jo Daviess320
Douglas280
Jersey241
Fayette213
Ford201
Menard200
Woodford192
Mason180
Washington180
Hancock170
Mercer170
Shelby161
Bureau151
Carroll152
Schuyler130
Bond121
Franklin120
Clark110
Crawford110
Fulton110
Moultrie110
Piatt110
Brown100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson80
Effingham71
Massac70
Saline70
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Edgar10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Terre Haute
Few Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 73°
Robinson
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 74°
Indianapolis
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 70°
Rockville
Scattered Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Casey
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 71°
Brazil
Few Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 73°
Marshall
Few Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 73°
A warm up on the way.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Monday Afternoon Weather

Image

Washington Catholic High School

Image

Rules of the roadway will be different for Indiana drivers, new hands-free law in place

Image

Monday: Sunny, warmer. High: 78

Image

Exotic Feline Rescue Center special events canceled

Image

Indiana bowling alleys still closed, business owner prepares

Image

Teen killed in weekend accident remembered at vigil

Image

Duke Energy saving programs

Image

Staying cool this season

Image

Indiana state parks to stay closed

WTHI Events