The American ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said on Wednesday the U.S. believed that Russia was “responsible” for the attempted murder of a former spy in Britain, saying the “crime” was worthy of retaliation from the U.N.
Haley, addressing the U.N. Security Council in New York, said the U.S. stood “in absolutely solidarity” with Britain after the country expelled 23 Russian diplomats in response to the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal, the ex-spy, and his daughter in Salisbury last week.
“The United States believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom, using a military-grade nerve agent,” Haley said in her remarks.
Haley called the diplomatic episode a “defining moment” for the larger United Nations’ relationship with Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, saying the Kremlin must “account for its actions” and open itself for investigation on what she called an “atrocious crime.”
“If we don’t take immediate, concrete measures to address this now, Salisbury will not be the last place we see chemical weapons used,” Haley warned.
The U.S. diplomat, who has been sharply critical of Russia’s role in supporting President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and his suspected use of chemical weapons, said Russia’s actions merited punishment from the U.N., though she did not specify what direct steps should be taken.
“Russia's crime is worthy of this council’s action,” she said. “But this is not an isolated incident.”
Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain on Wednesday unveiled that her country would expel 23 Russian diplomats in response to the nerve agent attack, telling Parliament that the attack “represents an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom.”
Prior to Britain’s announcement, President Donald Trump voiced support for the country in a call with May on Tuesday, with the two political leaders agreeing that Russian officials “must provide unambiguous answers” about the poisoning.