White House gives ‘fullest condemnation’ of attack on ex-Russian spy in Britain

- Maret 12, 2018

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday declared the Trump administration’s “fullest condemnation” of the attempted assassination of a former Russian spy in Britain but stopped short of joining Prime Minister Theresa May in blaming the Russian government for the act.

“Look, we’ve been monitoring the incident closely, take it very seriously,” Sanders said. “The use of a highly lethal nerve agent against U.K. citizens on U.K. soil is an outrage. The attack was reckless, indiscriminate and irresponsible. We offer the fullest condemnation, and we extend our sympathy to the victims and their families and our support to the U.K. government. We stand by our closest ally and the special relationship that we have.”

Earlier on Monday, May declared in the House of Commons that it was “highly likely” the Kremlin was behind the attempted murder of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, either directly or indirectly. Skripal was attacked last week in southern England with a nerve agent and remains in critical condition.

“It is now clear that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of the type developed by Russia,” May said, adding that the attack was either carried out by Russia or that the Kremlin had allowed the nerve agent to fall into the hands of others.


But while Sanders expressed the White House’s outrage on Monday, she declined to blame Russia as May did earlier in the day. President Donald Trump has been criticized at times for his relatively soft stance on Russia, especially compared with his overall get-tough approach to foreign policy, and his 2016 campaign has been accused of colluding with the Kremlin’s efforts to interfere in that year’s presidential election. Trump has vehemently denied those allegations.

“Right now, we are standing with our U.K. allies,” Sanders said. “I think they’re still working through even some of the details of that, and we’re going to continue to work with the U.K. and we certainly stand with them throughout this process.”


 

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