Leaders of the European Union on Friday supported Britain’s claim blaming Moscow for a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy. At a summit in Brussels, the EU decided to put up a united front against Moscow and recalled its envoy to Russia for consultations, AP reported.
The 28 leaders of the bloc said they “agree with the United Kingdom government’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible, and that there is no plausible alternative explanation”, Reuters reported. However, Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte clarified that Ambassador Markus Ederer “is being recalled for consultations to Brussels” and this “measure” was not a “sanction”.
On March 4, former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping centre in Salisbury, England. After British authorities concluded that it was a nerve agent that rendered them critical, UK Prime Minister Theresa May expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the country.
Russia has maintained innocence, claiming to have no hand in Skripal’s poisoning. President Vladimir Putin said it was “total rubbish, drivel and nonsense” that someone in Russia would carry out such “antics” so close to the country’s presidential election and the football World Cup in June.
In response to action by the UK, Russia had ordered an equal number of UK diplomats to leave the country within a week.