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Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Sequel to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, United Kingdom (UK), the British government has said it is taking steps to investigate what happened and to respond to the “reckless and despicable act.”
The position of the United Kingdom was made available to Daily Sun in Abuja by Joe Abuku, Press and Public Affairs Officer, British High Commission, Abuja.
The UK said that, as a nation, it believed in justice and the rule of law and it was essential to proceed in the right way and not be led by speculation, but by the evidence.
“On Sunday, 4th March, Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned in Salisbury, United Kingdom and remain in a critical condition.
“Yesterday, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May chaired a meeting of the National Security Council to review the information so far available.
“The Council was updated on the Joint Intelligence Committee’s assessment and intelligence picture, as well as the state of the investigation.
“The UK has concluded that Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with the military-grade ‘Novichok’ nerve agent, a weapon type developed by Russia.
“This is based on the positive identification of the ‘Novichok’ nerve agent by experts at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, together with the UK’s assessment of Russia’s record of state assassinations, and its view of defectors as a legitimate target,” the U.K. said.
The British High Commission further said the British Foreign Secretary summoned the Russian Ambassador in London, and made clear that either the Russian state has attempted murder on British soil using a chemical weapon, or Russia has lost control of its stockpile of nerve agents.
“The Foreign Secretary has demanded explanation from the Russian Ambassador on which of these two possibilities it is and therefore, to account for how this Russian produced nerve agent could have been deployed on UK soil.
“Tomorrow (today), the UK will consider in detail, the response from the Russian State. If however, there be no credible response, then we will conclude that this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by Russia against the United Kingdom,” Britain added.
Britain also said the development is not just about the U.K., saying that it speaks more about Russia’s track record for undermining international law.
“Russia is systematically dismantling the rules based international order; a trend which if not halted, poses a dire threat to both of our countries and the wider law-abiding international community. In Syria, appalling destruction has been visited on the civilian population by the Russian sponsored Asad regime, and the Russian military itself.
“Russia has also changed borders by force in Europe for the first time since WW2 with their illegal annexation of Crimea. Russia’s actions in Salisbury represent the first use of nerve agent in Europe since 1945.
“There’s no telling where their unprovoked acts of aggression would be visited next.
“We must respond collectively to reassure our citizens that hostile acts by Russia against our countries, our interests and our values will not be tolerated. Collective action is the one thing which Putin will not expect, and will fear,” the British government said.