EU demands Russia urgently hands over all information on Novichok nerve agent programme

EU demands Russia urgently hands over all information on Novichok nerve agent programme
# 19 March 2018 13:09 (UTC +04:00)

The EU has demanded that the Russian government hand over for scrutiny all information about the nerve agent that allegedly poisoned a former spy on British soil.

At a meeting in Brussels on Monday the EU’s 28 foreign ministers condemned the “reckless and illegal” poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and said information about the Novichok nerve agent should be handed over to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons investigation, APA reported citing the Independent.

“The European Union 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,” the joint statement says.

EU foreign ministers’ joint statement stopped short of directly blaming Russia in the way the UK government has, however, only stating that the “European Union takes extremely seriously the UK Government’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible”.

Foreign ministers were briefed by Boris Johnson on the issue before drawing up the joint statement. European Commission foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said arriving at the summit that the EU pledged “full solidarity” with the UK and said there was “extreme concern” about what happened.

Arriving at the summit Mr Johnson the Foreign Secretary warned the Russian government that it is “not fooling anyone” with its “increasingly absurd” denials of culpability for use of a nerve agent on British soil.

“I think what people can see is that this is a classic Russia strategy of trying to conceal the needle of truth in a haystack of lies and obfuscation. What really strikes me talking to European friends and partners today is that 12 years after the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko in London they’re not fooling anybody anymore.

“There is scarcely a country around the table here in Brussels that has not been affected by some kind of malign of disruptive Russian behaviours. That is why I think the strength and resolve of our European friends is so striking today.”

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