Britain will brief members of the U.N. Security Council Wednesday on an alleged chemical weapons attack on an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in the city of Salisbury on March 4.
Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found unconscious on a park bench and rushed to the hospital, where they remain in critical condition. Several other individuals were sickened.
The British Foreign Office said it has called for the “urgent meeting” of the Security Council to update members on the investigation into the nerve agent attack.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has said it is “highly likely” that Russia is responsible for the attack and she announced several reprisals, including the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from Britain.
Russia is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed the accusations as part of a “Russophobic campaign.”
In a letter dated March 13 to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres seen by VOA, the British prime minister said there are only two possible scenarios: “Either the Russian state has attempted murder on British soil using a chemical weapon, or Russia has lost control of its stockpile of nerve agents.”
May, who also sent the letter to the president of the U.N. Security Council, goes on to say that, “No country except Russia has the combined capability in chemical warfare, intent to weaponize this agent, and motive to target the principal victim.”
British officials say the chemical nerve agent used in the attack is known as Novichok, which was developed by the Soviet Union and inherited by Russia.
“The use of nerve agents under any circumstances is unacceptable and its use by a state would constitute a serious violation of international law,” said a spokesman for the U.N. chief. “While the secretary-general is not in a position to attribute responsibility, he strongly condemns the use of any nerve agent or chemical weapons and hopes the incident will be thoroughly investigated.”
The British prime minister also demands in her letter that Moscow immediately provide “full and complete disclosure of the Novichok program” to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) monitoring group.
She said the attack is a crime and a challenge to the rules-based international order and must be addressed with the support of the international community.