The EU strongly condemns the poisoning of Sergey Skripal, the former GRU officer and his daughter and demands the explanations and total declassifying of the information about Novichok program from Russia. It is claimed in the statement of the EU Foreign Affairs Council published on March 19.
It is noted that the EU extremely seriously treats the assessment of the UK government that Russia is responsible for the poisoning.
The statement stated that the EU is shocked at the offensive use of any military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, for the first time on European soil in over 70 years. It was noted that the use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances is completely unacceptable.
The document emphasized that the use of the chemical weapon is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, a breach of international law and undermines the rules-based international order.
The EU urged Russia to address urgently the questions raised by the UK and the international community and to provide immediate, full and complete disclosure of its Novichok programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
‘The EU expresses its unqualified solidarity with the UK and its support, including for the UK’s efforts to bring those responsible for this crime to justice’, the document noted.
It was also added that the EU will remain closely focused on this issue and its implications.
As it was reported earlier Britain decided to expel 23 Russian diplomats to the incident in Salisbury. Russian diplomats had a week to leave Great Britain. Besides, Britain will tighten control at the customs and check of private planes for the same reason.
Ex-colonel of Russia’s Main Intelligence Agency, Sergey Skripal and his daughter, poisoned in the center of Salisbury town in the evening of March 4, are still struggling for life in the intensive care unit of the local hospital. The British special services suppose that Skripals were poisoned by his ex-colleague Andrey Lugovoy, who acted on orders from Moscow.
The whole case turned out to be high-profile. The British media call the poisoning 'Litvinenko-2', referring to the poisoning of ex-FSB agent Aleksandr Litvinenko in 2006. British PM Theresa May announced that 23 Russian diplomats will be sent off from the UK due to the attack on Skripal. Foreign Minister Boris Jonson added that the leading Russian officials and members of the royal family are not going to visit Russia for FIFA World Cup matches. Jonson also said that the government considers the option to ban the national football team from the competition.