WASHINGTON, March 15. /TASS/. The United States is solidary with the United Kingdom concerning the expulsion of Russian diplomats and shares London’s view that Russia is responsible for the poisoning of former military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The United States stands in solidarity with its closest ally, the United Kingdom. The United States shares the United Kingdom’s assessment that Russia is responsible for the reckless nerve agent attack on a British citizen and his daughter, and we support the United Kingdom’s decision to expel Russian diplomats as a just response," the statement says. "This latest action by Russia fits into a pattern of behavior 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 United States is working together with our allies and partners to ensure that this kind of abhorrent attack does not happen again."
UK Prime Minister Theresa May on March 14 accused Russia of "an unlawful use of force" against her country following an incident involving former GRU military intelligence Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. She said that 23 Russian diplomats would be expelled from the country within one week and that British officials would be absent from the FIFA World Cup finals.
May said the invitation to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to pay a reciprocal visit to the United Kingdom had been revoked and all planned high-level bilateral contacts had been suspended. Nevertheless, she added that it was not in British interest to break off all dialogue between the UK and Russia.
Along with this, May claimed that Moscow might have lost control of the reserves of the nerve agent that had been used for an attack against the Skripals. She said they had been poisoned with a nerve agent of the Novichok group of chemicals, developed in the Soviet Union.
In the meantime, Lavrov said Russia had nothing to do with the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter and that London was trying to mislead the world community. Moscow urged London for related evidence and for providing them in keeping with the official procedures.
On March 4, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury after being exposed to a nerve agent. Both are in hospital in critical condition.
In 2004, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested Skripal and later on, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for high treason. In 2010, the former colonel was handed over to the US as part of a swap involving espionage suspects. Later in the same year, Skripal arrived in the UK and settled there.