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U.S., Germany, France Stand With U.K., Blame Russia for Nerve Agent Attack on Former Spy

U.S., Germany, France Stand With U.K., Blame Russia for Nerve Agent Attack on Former Spy

“It is an assault on UK sovereignty and any such use by a State party is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and a breach of international law.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8a_bszotv4

The United States, Germany, and France have banded together to stand with their ally the United Kingdom over the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on British spy.

The three countries have agreed with the UK that Russia used a nerve agent that have and his daughter fighting for their lives.

From Reuters:

“We, the leaders of France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom, abhor the attack that took place against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, U.K., on 4 March 2018,” the statement said.

“This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War.

“It is an assault on UK sovereignty and any such use by a State party is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and a breach of international law. It threatens the security of us all.”

The four nations called on Russia to provide full and complete disclosure of its Novichok nerve agent program to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The Financial Times produced the White House statement:

The White House said in a statement: “This latest action by Russia fits into a pattern of behaviour in which Russia disregards the international rules-based order, undermines the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and attempts to subvert and discredit western democratic institutions and processes. The US is working together with our allies and partners to ensure that this kind of abhorrent attack does not happen again.”

May spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron, which led to his government proclaiming that “there was ‘no other plausible explanation’ than Russian involvement in the attack. France and the UK agreed on ‘the importance of European and transatlantic unity in the response to this event.'”

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen demanded Russia cooperate with an investigation into the poisoning and vowed serious consequences. She described the attack as a “serious violation of international agreements on chemical weapons.”

On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats after Russia could not explain itself properly over the poisoning.

She also called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. US Ambassador Nikki Haley stood with Britain:

In the strongest statement yet from the US administration on the affair, Haley said Washington shared the UK’s assessment that the Russian state was behind the poisoning and demanded a firm international response.

“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 at a UN Security Council emergency session, blasting the Russian government for flouting international law.

“If we don’t take immediate concrete measures to address this now, Salisbury will not be the last place we see chemical weapons used,” said Haley. “They could be used here in New York or in cities of any country that sits on this council.”

OF COURSE Russia claims innocence and believes it’s a witch hunt. You know, they are the real victims even though UK has seen FOURTEEN previous attacks on exiled Russians on their soil.

In return, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that Russia will expel British diplomats. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said other “retaliatory measures” will take place:

“Russia is perplexed and does not comprehend the stance by the British leadership and the British side against the backdrop of Skripal’s case,” Peskov said, according to Russia’s Tass news agency.

He said “the accusations are unsubstantiated, moreover, these accusations surfaced even before any information on the used substance could appear.”

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Comments

They pulled stuff like this during the Cold War too, obviously. If they felt it was worth the consequences, let the consequences be felt in full. There is not, in my mind, a reasonable and fair case to be made that Russia is likely innocent of this attack. There are unreasonable and unfair cases, and I’m seeing them being made over the Internet, but they are unconvincing. Given this, it would be bad politics and bad ally relations not to back the UK up.

Personally, I would also see it as saving one’s powder for actual serious cases – like this – instead of chasing phantoms. But that’s me.

    Petrushka in reply to JBourque. | March 15, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Can you cite a case where the Russian government botched an assassination so badly, or inflicted collateral damage?

    Just asking.

      Who has access to nerve agents manufactured solely by the Russian military industrial complex?

      Just asking, comrade sovok.

        Notanymore in reply to Tiki. | March 15, 2018 at 1:05 pm

        If the nerve agent is made solely by Russia what test do you perform to know its Russian? If Russia solely has it what test agent do you compare it to? If you have a test agent to compare it to, where did you get it from? Just because it quacks does not make it a Doctor!

          If a Russian military lab manufactures a specific chemical compound – how did the chemical find its way to a park bench in England?

          Just Asking.

          What did I just say about bad, unreasonable cases? Let’s say the UK stole samples of Russian chemical weapons during the Cold War and tested against those, and that there are chemical analysis reasons to say that the Russians are overwhelmingly likely to be the source. What is strange about this? Surely you’re not going to say it was wrong to steal a sample from Russia during the Cold War? Of course, those same chemical analysis reasons could tip Russia off as to exactly how long ago the sample was stolen, etc. There’s no reason May is obligated to help Russian Intel with its homework assignment.

          Simply put, there’s not a lot of countries that can even attempt this plausibly. If the best Russia has to offer is, “Well you didn’t actually SEE us do it so you can’t prove it,” hit them harder. That’s a fifth grader’s excuse.

          As for “But since when has Russia fouled up an assassination”, Russians are not supermen, bogeymen or the like. The choice of victim is also extremely specific. Is this the best people have?

        Petrushka in reply to Tiki. | March 15, 2018 at 4:37 pm

        I’d like a link to a source for the claim that the toxin was specific to Russia. And assuming it was, that it serves Russia’s interest. I’m not denying it was Russia, but there’s a lot of questions to be answered.

          The source for the claim is obviously Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. She has not made chemical tests on chemical warfare samples public. I would not expect her to.

          Tiki in reply to Petrushka. | March 15, 2018 at 6:47 pm

          Use google and search for your own answeres, then come here and post the results. I’m not your file clerk.

          Just Sayin’

      Tiki in reply to Petrushka. | March 15, 2018 at 2:33 pm

      Involvement of Russian government in assassinations by use of poisons and toxins?

      Russians love them some poisoning – even when doing so is as obvious and messy as a dagger in the throat. So, for no reason in particular…. Peter III.

JusticeDelivered | March 15, 2018 at 11:53 am

To determine an appropriate response, we need to ask what Putin would do, then multiply that by ten.

Fourteen previous attacks? Geez, those Brits are am easy going bunch.

So let’s look at this. England has invoked article 5. We have no proof whatsoever it was Russia. England wants to start a pissing match with the biggest guy on their block.

England has no military worth the name and can’t stop Pakis from raping thousands of little girls and but wants a war with the number one or number two nuclear power on earth. She said, ‘military’, that means war.

Somebody is not thinking this through. Trump should have told her to pound sand. He said he was going to end NATO. He should have taken the opportunity.

    4th armored div in reply to forksdad. | March 15, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    Trump needs to show Putin that continuing to support Iran/Hexbollah/NorK has a price to be paid.

    The ChiComs are also watching what Trump is doing –
    win -win for DJT.
    lose-lose for (D) and #NeverTrump

    #MAGA

Here is the problem with invoking Article 5. There is NO solid evidence the Russia is responsible for this incident. All that the British, and other nations say, is that it is likely that Russia was responsible.

Have we forgotten how the US intelligence community claimed that it was likely that the Russian government colluded with the Trump Campaign? That has been pretty much debunked by now. How about when both the British intelligence agencies and the CIA were pretty sure that Saddam Hussein was running WMD programs in 2002-2003? We never found any hard evidence of the accuracy of those statements. Then we have the use of chemical weapons by Assad in 2017. We still have seen no evidence that the Syrian forces delivered any chemical munition at that time. None. Yet the CinC launched a multi-million dollar cruise missile attack on the Syrian nation.

Look, people, nations simply can not take overt harmful actions against other nations without conclusive proof of wrongdoing. Once you go down the path that a likelihood constitutes absolute proof, you can end up being hoist on your own petard. This is what we have clandestine agencies for. There are other ways top “sanction” people believed to be responsible for acts such as this. However, it pays do be sure of their guilt BEFORE a sanction is carried out.

    RasMoyag in reply to Mac45. | March 15, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    I too was wondering where the solid evidence is. But in today’s world the claim that it was the Ruskies is in print so it’s in solid black and white. That may seem circular to some but as I said if it’s in print you have a document in hand.

    As for the importance of solid evidencce to conduct military action, could we look at history and agree that there is no connection. Military action is not based on solid evidence but on other factors. And one can say the same things about sanctions. They do not have to be in response to solid evidence. Sanctions are sanctions and done for whatever reason or nonreason is the flavor of the day.

      Mac45 in reply to RasMoyag. | March 15, 2018 at 1:41 pm

      While it is true that, throughout history, military action has been used without solid evidence to justify it. It is just as true that people have been tortured and killed by non-military action over the same period in history without hard evidence to justify such action. How many people were killed in the Salem witch trials? More recently, how about lynchings in the US, stonings around the world, necklacings etc. The whole point of the evolution of civilization is that we refrain from using force against others, unless we have solid evidence that such force is justified. Not just that we have a feeling that it is likely a person, or nation, was responsible for something.

      So, would we like it if we, the US were sanctioned because some other nation claimed that we did something, without hard evidence that we were, in fact, responsible? How about Russia or China launching a military attack against us on the same basis? See the problem? Once you make it acceptable to take action against another, be it an individual or a nation, without solid evidence that that entity was responsible, then no one is safe.

    I’ll skip a few things and get to the point. Are you asserting chemists are faking reports to the leadership of Western nations?

      Mac45 in reply to JBourque. | March 15, 2018 at 9:12 pm

      No. However, no one has produced any evidence that indicates that the Russian government sanctioned this event or was responsible. Nor has any evidence been presented which proves that non-Russian actors did not procure this compound illicitly and use it without the knowledge or authorization of the Russian government.

      What I am saying is that, absent solid evidence, what you have is nothing more than opinion. And, you really should have some solid evidence to substantiate that opinion. In this case, all of this is being based solely upon thee facts. 1) The main victims are Russian defectors. 2) They were poisoned with a nerve agent which was originally developed by Russia. 3) 14 other Russian defectors have been killed in Great Britain in the last 20 years using methods which seem to point back to the Russian Government. Now while I might be of the opinion that this incident was the work of the Russian SVR and was sanctioned by the Russian government, I would not take public action with such limited evidence.

        There’s a lot of problems here, not limited to which: the evidence may exist, but because it has not been presented to you, personally, you believe it is improper to act upon the evidence; you believe the evidence is limited to weak circumstantial evidence regarding the origins of the drug, not the allegation that of all the nations of the Earth, Russia is the only known manufacturer and user of this chemical weapon to date, and has never admitted losing control of this stockpile; and, most damning, you and certain other people seem to think that Cobra or H.Y.D.R.A. may be responsible rather than a state government, and somehow the shadowy organization responsible magically picks enemies of Putin and his spy network, a network he used to be personally part of under the Soviets.

        I really want to take the case for innocence seriously, but these arguments are making it tremendously difficult. Also, Russia’s chemical weapons being stolen and used in foreign countries is pretty bad to begin with…

buckeyeminuteman | March 15, 2018 at 1:23 pm

About time Putin gets his peepee smacked. He’s done this before and will continue to take out people with dirt on him.

Remember Victor Yushchenko:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/viktor-yushchenko-every-politician-in-ukraine-who-turns-to-the-west-is-in-danger-a6694311.html

And Alexander Litvinenko:
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-19647226

The former Soviet Union having dissolved, and for a long time after that event, much of the materials of war were sold, helping fund the new Russian aristocracy. Russia wouldn’t admit to it, but just because this deadly poison was used doesn’t necessarily mean it was the Russian Government who used it.

While I wouldn’t be shocked by it, it seems this was a poorly handled and executed operation, not quite the level one would expect of Russia or any nation state looking to have plausible deniability.

Another thing striking me is how do you prove a negative? If Russia did indeed have nothing to do with this, despite the appearances, how do they give any kind of satisfactory answer to this? Admit a deadly chemical warfare agent was stolen? That would blow up.

This just has a smell to it all, where it just doesn’t quite resonate as true. Not that the chemical was used, but that Russia did it when their finger prints would be all over something like this. It is far easier to poison the targets in other ways which wouldn’t leave it pointing back at them.

It seems like there are too many things going on that seem to be pushing us ever closer to a massive conflict or war. I think GB jumped on this and backed themselves into a corner, giving an ultimatum which is asking for something that might not exist. Dangerous ground for a Country to tread on.

I’m sure there have been times when assassinations have taken place, but this seems more like a Spy vs. Spy screw up than an action performed by a major world power.

I agree it’s highly likely that the Russian government authorized this hit. But there’s another possibility as PM May noted when addressing the House of Commons. That Russia has lost control of some if its chemical weapons.

This is a distinct possibility. At the end of the cold war Russians were selling weapons to anyone with cash. Or something of value they were willing to barter for. And the value didn’t have to be very high. An East German bar operator got his own T-72 tank for a case of liquor, and when I was stationed in Japan a Russian frigate captain from Vladivostok was trying to sell his ship. As the Soviet Union crumbled to bits the ruined country became one big arms bazaar. People still had to find a way to make a living, so if they had access to something someone wanted it was for sale.

“This use of a military-grade nerve agent…”

Umm, is there any other grade of nerve agent?

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