While critics have slammed President Donald Trump over his perceived initial equivocation in response to evidence that Russian operatives staged a poisoning on British soil earlier this month, many in his administration are unambiguous in their condemnation of the act.
As Fox News reported, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, made the case this week that the U.N. Security Council must react swiftly and decisively in response to what she called an “atrocious crime.”
Following the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, which left them critically ill and threatened the health of hundreds in the vicinity, the U.K. released a joint statement by the leaders of that nation, the U.S., Germany and France condemning the attack in stark terms.
The use of Russian nerve agent novichok “constitutes the first offensive use” of such a chemical in Europe since World War II, the statement indicated.
“A British police officer who was also exposed in the attack remains seriously ill, and the lives of many innocent British citizens have been threatened,” the world leaders wrote.
The joint statement went on to offer sympathy for those involved, as well as “admiration for the UK police and emergency services for their courageous response.”
In Haley’s comments Wednesday to the U.N. Security Council, she made it clear that America “stands in absolute solidarity” with the U.K. in the wake of an incident she warned could easily strike closer to home.
“If we don’t take immediate, concrete measures to address this now, (Britain) will not be the last place we see chemical weapons used,” she said.
Haley explained similar agents “could be used here in New York, or in cities of any country that sits on this council.”
Haley struck back directly at Russian allegations that Western nations “criticize them too much,” adding that if “the Russian government stopped using chemical weapons to assassinate its enemies,” then those critics “would stop talking about them.”
In addition to her harsh rebuke of the poisoning, British Prime Minister Teresa May announced this week the nation’s decision to impose a range of punitive measures. A total of 23 Russian diplomats have reportedly been kicked out and the U.K. canceled several intergovernmental contracts between the two nations. In announcing the decision to expel nearly two dozen diplomats, May told British officials that the move would “fundamentally degrade Russian intelligence capability in the U.K. for years to come.”
She also signaled the initiation of further probes into the attack and additional action against Russia. The White House expressed support for those measures in a statement from press secretary Sarah Sanders. She confirmed that the U.S. is “working together with our allies and partners to ensure that this kind of abhorrent attack does not happen again.”
Sanders also denounced the public poisoning in her comments this week, asserting that the “latest action by Russia fits into a pattern of behavior in which Russia disregards the international rules-based order, undermines the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and attempts to subvert and discredit Western democratic institutions and processes.”