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UK, US, German, French leaders condemn Salisbury nerve agent attack in joint statement

The poisoning of Sergei Skripal "threatens the security of all of us," a joint statement says

LONDON/BERLIN, March 15. /TASS/. The poisoning in Salisbury of a former colonel of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia "threatens the security of all of us," says a joint statement of the French, German, US and UK leaders released on Thursday.

"This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War. It is an assault on UK sovereignty and any such use by a State party is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and a breach of international law," said the statement of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May. "It threatens the security of us all," the leaders stressed.

"We, the leaders of France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom, abhor the attack that took place against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, UK, on 4 March 2018. A British police officer who was also exposed in the attack remains seriously ill, and the lives of many innocent British citizens have been threatened. We express our sympathies to them all, and our admiration for the UK police and emergency services for their courageous response," the statement went on.

"We call on Russia to address all questions related to the attack in Salisbury. Russia should in particular provide full and complete disclosure of the Novichok programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the communique said.

"The United Kingdom briefed thoroughly its allies that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack. We share the UK assessment that there is no plausible alternative explanation, and note that Russia's failure to address the legitimate request by the UK government further underlines its responsibility, the statement added.

No research and development projects under the code name Novichok have ever been carried out in Russia and the chemical agent that was used to poison Russia’s former military intelligence (GRU) officer Sergey Skripal could have been manufactured elsewhere, including in the United Kingdom, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said on Wednesday.

"No research and development projects code named Novichok have ever been carried out in Russia," he told a United Security Council meeting.