Britain takes spy poisoning clash with Russia to UN after expelling 23 diplomats
Britain on Wednesday appealed for support from countries at the UN Security Council as it pressed Moscow to answer for a nerve gas attack on a former Russian spy in England.
The council met in an emergency session at Britain's request to discuss the March 4 attack in the city of Salisbury that left ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in critical condition.
"Today I will be calling on my council colleagues to stand with us against such acts," British Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen told reporters ahead of the meeting.
"This was a reckless and indiscriminate act that put at risk the lives of civilians."
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier said the use of a nerve agent was "unacceptable" and called for a thorough investigation.
Prime Minister Theresa May told lawmakers On Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain will suspend high-level bilateral contact, revoke an invitation to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to visit and expel 23 Russian diplomats over the nerve agent attack on a former double agent in England.
May said Britain would "suspend all high-level bilateral contact", saying that Russia was "culpable" for the poisoning.
The diplomats "have been identified as undeclared intelligence officers," May said, giving them one week to leave the UK in the "single biggest expulsion for over 30 years".
"Many of us looked at a post-Soviet Russia with hope. We wanted a better relationship and it is tragic that President Putin has chosen to act in this way," May told parliament.
She also added that, "there will be no attendance by ministers -- or indeed members of the royal family -- at this summer's World Cup in Russia."
A number of other measures will be taken, however, May stated that these will not be publicized.
The British premier said that the UK did not stand alone in its condemnation of the incident, explaining that the issue of the illegal development and possession of chemical weapons by the Russian state, was a global problem.
Ahead of the special Parliamentary statement, the UN Security Council said it would hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday at Britain's request to discuss the incident.
Britain will brief council members during the open meeting at 1900 GMT on the nerve agent that left ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in critical condition, the British mission to the United Nations said.
May has declared that it was "highly likely" that Russia was behind the attack, either directly or it had "lost control" of the nerve agent Novichok, developed by the Soviet Union.
Russia has denied any involvement.
"Moscow does not accept unfounded accusations that are not based on evidence and a language of ultimatums," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"We are hoping that common sense will prevail," he said, in the Kremlin's first public response to British accusations that Russia could be behind the attempted murder of former double agent Sergei Skripal.
On Tuesday, Lavrov rejected British May's deadline to explain how Skripal was poisoned in Britain with a highly toxic nerve agent invented by Russia.
"Moscow has nothing to do with the accident in Britain," Peskov said, reiterating that Moscow was open to cooperate on the investigation.
He declined to comment on calls in the West to possibly invoke NATO's principle of common defence, saying Moscow hopes that other countries would see there was no evidence to blame Russia for the poisoning attack
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@ the UN in particular words have become meaningless.
all countries that are not authoritarian and also not the best friends and protector of the worst rogue/terrorist regimes in the world should completely skip the world cup this year.... especially the athletes. stop Russia of the respect they never earn. Someone Russia never ended other than in the minds of naive Western liberals. they pretended that bankrupting the Soviet Union would cause Russians to change their thinking. Putin is no more than a kgb thug who only wants the good old days of the USSR restored. time to start cutting them off of trade, technology and space partnerships, while cratering another arms race to bankrupt them again.... hopefully not reacting in the same gullible way as that last. Russia's is the enemy!