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UN Ambassador Nikki Haley: ‘Russia is responsible’ for chemical attack in England

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley walks into the Security Council Wednesday after the United Kingdom called for an urgent meeting to update council members on the investigation into the recent nerve agent attack in Salisbury, England, in New York City. Haley said "the United States believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent.” (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Addressing the United Nations Security Council, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said on Wednesday that "the United States believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent.” Haley called for “immediate, concrete measures” to be taken.

Russian defector Col. Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned with a nerve agent on March 4 outside a British shopping center in Salisbury, England. After an investigation, British Prime Minister Theresa May revealed that the nerve agent was Novichok, which was developed by the Russian government during the 1970s and 1980s.

May demanded that the Russian Embassy explain whether it was behind the attack or if it had “lost control of its potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent, and allowed it to get into the hands of others.”

The Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom responded with a statement and a series of tweets, calling the British government’s conclusion “evidence free” and “a clear provocation.”

May, in turn, responded by announcing that the U.K. would expell 23 Russian diplomats. She criticized the Russian Embassy for responding with “sarcasm, contempt, and defiance.”

Haley said that the United States takes “no pleasure in having to constantly criticize Russia. But we need Russia to stop giving us so many reasons to do so.”

She then called the credibility of the Security Council into question:

“Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council. It is entrusted in the United Nations charter with upholding international peace and security. It must account for its actions. If we don’t take immediate, concrete measures to address this now, Salisbury will not be the last place we see chemical weapons used. They could be used here in New York. Or in cities of any country that sits on this council.

“This is a defining moment. Time and time again, member states say that they oppose the use of chemical weapons under any circumstance. Now one member stands accused of using chemical weapons on the sovereign soil of another member. The credibility of this council will not survive if we fail to hold Russia accountable.”

One last thing…
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