UK eyes sanctions on Russia over 'nerve agent attack'
Iran Press TV
Mon Mar 12, 2018 02:34PM
The UK has announced that it is preparing to unveil new sanctions against Russia in response to an alleged chemical agent attack which London has blamed on Moscow.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May met with her National Security team on Monday to discuss the latest evidence, warning of a firm response if it is proved Russia was behind the attack.
Former double agent Sergei Skripal, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, have been hospitalized since they were found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping center in the city of Salisbury on Sunday.
Both Skripal, 66, and his daughter remain unconscious in a critical but stable condition, according to a Reuters report. Police Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey has also fallen ill because of contact with the substance while investigating the incident.
Speaking to BBC Radio on Monday, the chair of the UK's Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, said the attack was "looking awfully like it was state-sponsored attempted murder."
Tugendhat said he was expecting the prime minister to make an announcement soon.
"The key with responding to Russia is making sure we make Putin realize what we're doing, and make people who support him realize that supporting him isn't a great idea," said Tugendhat. "And that, to be honest, doesn't mean general sanctions. That means very specific sanctions."
Previously Finance Minister Philip Hammond had said that Britain would respond "appropriately" if a foreign state was found to have been involved in the poisoning.
"This is a police investigation and it will be evidence-led and we must go where the evidence takes us," Hammond told BBC television on Sunday.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has repeatedly denied any involvement in the poisoning of the double spy in Britain. Peskov said the fact that the attack took place in Britain proves Russia had no role in the incident.
"The Russian citizen you mention... worked for one of Britain's special services, the incident took place on British territory, and it is in no way an issue for Russia, let alone for the Russian leadership," Peskov told journalists.
British police on Wednesday attributed the critical illness of the two to a nerve agent that British media claim only governments could have possessed.
British media and politicians previously speculated that Russia might be behind the incident. Moscow has strongly denied the allegations and expressed its readiness to help with the investigation.
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