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NATO won’t invoke Article 5 on collective defense over UK claims against Russia — source

March 14, 11:44 UTC+3

A source says NATO sees no reasons for using Article Five of the collective defense treaty after London’s charges against Moscow in connection with the poisoning of former GRU Colonel Sergey Skripal

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© EPA PHOTO BELGA/BENOIT DOPPAGNE

BRUSSELS, March 14. /TASS/. NATO sees no reasons for using Article Five of the collective defense treaty after London’s charges against Moscow in connection with the poisoning of former GRU Colonel Sergey Skripal, a diplomatic source in the mission of one of NATO’s member countries in Brussels told TASS on Wednesday.

"Using Article Five would be a disproportionate response to such an incident. Getting support from all allies (NATO member-countries - TASS) would be impossible. With a high degree of probability one should expect the NATO Council will hold security consultations under Article Four of the Washington Treaty (on collective defense)," the source said.

Article Five of NATO’s Charter postulates that an armed attack against one or several member-countries shall be considered as an attack against the whole alliance. Each country is obliged to carry out retaliatory measures, including the use of armed force, "to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area." Article Four envisages consultations only.

He refrained from commenting on the very possibility that London might ask for activating Article Five and advised to address this question to the British government. In making such major decisions, diplomatic practice implies a series of mandatory preliminary consultations with the goal of inquiring into the allies’ readiness to support a proposed decision. Given the current climate, London is unlikely to raise the topic of activating Article Five at the official level, because a dismissed request for using collective defense would deal a heavy blow to the reputation of both Britain and NATO.

Article Five of NATO’s Charter postulates that an armed attack against one or several member-countries shall be considered as an attack against the whole alliance. Each country is obliged to carry out retaliatory measures, including the use of armed force, "to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area." The article was put to use only once: after the 9/11 attacks in the United States. Article Four provides for emergency consultations within NATO to be called in the event any member country claims its independence, territorial integrity or security is under threat.

Sergey Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, are reported to have been affected by a nerve agent. They were found unconscious on a bench near The Maltings shopping center in Salisbury, both of them have been hospitalized and are in critical condition. British Prime Minister Theresa may claims that Russia was likely to have been behind the attack and that a chemical warfare agent called Novichok, developed in the Soviet Union, had been used for poisoning the Skripals.

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