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G7 Foreign Ministers Call on Russia to Answer Questions Related to the Salisbury Incident

April 24, 6:15 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to the statement, the countries "share, and agree with, the U.K.’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation was responsible for the attack"

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MOSCOW, April 24. /TASS/. The Group of Seven (G7) countries, as well as High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, at the meeting in Toronto called on Russia to provide information on the nerve agent allegedly used to poison former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal. This was stated in their joint statement, distributed on Monday by the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"We call on Russia to urgently address all questions related to the incident in Salisbury. Russia should provide full and complete disclosure of its previously undeclared Novichok program to the OPCW in line with its international obligations. We call on Russia to live up to its Chemical Weapons Convention obligations, as well as its responsibilities as a permanent member of the UNSC to uphold international peace and security," the statement said.

According to the statement, the countries "share, and agree with, the U.K.’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation was responsible for the attack, and that there is no plausible alternative explanation."

On March 4, former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and exchanged for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of a nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union. London expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow.

Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia. In retaliation to the UK’s steps, 23 British diplomats were expelled, the British consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg was closed and the British Council had to shut down its operations in Russia.

The meeting of foreign ministers of the G7 countries was held in Toronto, Canada, on April 22-23. A meeting of G7 foreign and security ministers is held on April 23-24. Canada holds the G7 Presidency from January 1 to December 31, 2018.

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