BREAKING NEWS 3 Madison County schools move to remote learning due to coronavirus Full Story

Russia slams UK at UN Security Council meeting on nerve agent attack

A United Nations Security Council meeting on the poisoning of a Russian former spy and his daughter in the United Kin...

Posted: Apr 6, 2018 9:03 AM
Updated: Apr 6, 2018 9:03 AM

A United Nations Security Council meeting on the poisoning of a Russian former spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom began Thursday with the Russian representative questioning the evidence made public in the case.

Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia blasted the UK, calling the spy poison allegations against Russia a "fake story."

The Russian UN diplomat warned "we have told our British colleagues that they are playing with fire and they will be sorry."

Asked after the meeting what he meant by saying the UK would be sorry, Nebenzi replied that if the UK's accusation was untrue, "a normal person should be sorry for that."

He accused the United Kingdom of turning other countries against Russia.

"You started a wave that even reached New York," he said.

Moscow, emboldened after the UK was forced to withdraw a claim that its scientists had pinned the blame on Russia for the attack, further attempted to embarrass Britain in front of its international allies.

But the UN ambassador from the UK, Karen Pierce, said she would not be lectured by Russia.

Russia refused to help when the UK asked early in the investigation, Pierce said.

Pierce told the Council "we all know why that investigation is underway. It's because a military grade nerve agent was used in an attempt to kill civilians on British soil. It was carried out recklessly and it was carried out without regard for public safety."

Russian officials say Pierce has done much to block investigations into the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Battle of barbs continues

A month after former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in the English city of Salisbury, the United Kingdom and Russia remain locked in a battle over who is to blame.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said it was "highly likely" the attack was ordered by the Russian government. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the accusation. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that the affair was a "pretext" for the expulsion of Russian diplomats around the world.

On Wednesday, Moscow failed in its efforts to persuade the chemical weapons watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, to allow a joint UK-Russia investigation into the attack. The OPCW is already carrying out an independent investigation at the UK's request, and expects to receive the results of its analysis within a week. Britain is also carrying out its own inquiry, with support from the OPCW.

Attention has turned to the United Nations. It was the second time the Security Council discussed the poisoning. At a March 15 meeting that was called by the UK, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley blasted the Russian government for the attack and called for a firm international response.

Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, remain in Salisbury District Hospital following the attack on March 4. Sergei Skripal is described as in a critical but stable condition.

Yulia Skripal announced Thursday that she had woken up "over a week ago" and that her "strength is growing daily."

"I am grateful for the interest in me and for the many messages of goodwill that I have received," Skripal said in a statement released on her behalf by London's Metropolitan Police.

"I have many people to thank for my recovery and would especially like to mention the people of Salisbury that came to my aid when my father and I were incapacitated. Further than that, I would like to thank the staff at Salisbury District Hospital for their care and professionalism," she said.

"I am sure you appreciate that the entire episode is somewhat disorientating, and I hope that you'll respect my privacy and that of my family during the period of my convalescence," she added.

Pierce declined to answer whether British authorities had interviewed Skripal.

A Russian state television station reported Thursday that Viktoria Skripal, the cousin of Yulia Skripal, said she had spoken to Yulia by phone.

UK experts believe the Skripals were poisoned with a Russian-made nerve agent, Novichok.

The Times of London, citing unnamed sources, reported on Thursday that UK security services had pinpointed the location of the Russian laboratory that manufactured the nerve agent.

Putin: Common sense must prevail

On Wednesday, speaking at a trilateral summit with Turkey and Iran, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters he wanted to see "a healthy political process" based on international law.

"We are not expecting anything but common sense to prevail; international relations will not tolerate the recent damage done," he said.

The UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats in the wake of the attack, sparking a wave of similar moves by UK allies around the world. The US expelled 60 Russian diplomats as part of the international effort. Moscow responded by kicking out diplomats from at least 23 countries, including 60 American diplomats. It also ordered the closure of the US consulate in St. Petersburg.

Lavrov said Thursday that Russia wants "to find the truth" about the poisoning in Salisbury and that "provocations are being arranged" in the Skripal case to demonize Russia.

He claimed that many countries had been pressured into supporting the UK and described the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats as "an open mocking of diplomatic ethics" that had not seen for a long time.

Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom Alexander Yakovenko told a news conference Thursday that Russia has "no information about Yulia Skripal, we don't know about Sergei."

Speaking to reporters at the Russian Embassy in London, Yakovenko said Yulia's cousin Viktoria was "waiting for the visa in Moscow, a British visa. We will see what will be the outcome of that visit."

He repeated Russia's complaint that Britain is not allowing it access to its citizens, Sergei and Yulia Skripal, or to the British investigation into their poisoning. The UK government must be "transparent" about the evidence, he said.

Yakovenko said Russia would accept the result of the OPCW investigation -- but suggested that its validity would depend on which nations' experts were involved. "These results should be confirmed by the international community, so we want to see who are the experts," he said.

Questions around nerve agent's source

Questions continue to dog the investigation into the attack on the Skripals, who were found slumped on a bench at an outdoor shopping complex in Salisbury. UK police believe they came into contact with the military-grade nerve agent on Skripal's front door.

On Tuesday, UK scientists said that while they had identified the nerve agent as Novichok, they were unable to say exactly where it had been manufactured.

"We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government, who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions you have come to," Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the UK government laboratory at Porton Down, told Sky News on Tuesday.

Further complicating the picture, the UK Foreign Office confirmed on Wednesday it had deleted a tweet that claimed that British chemical weapons experts believed Russia had produced the nerve agent. The Foreign Office said the tweet was "truncated and did not accurately report" a briefing by the British ambassador to Moscow last month.

The British government says the scientific analysis from Porton Down forms only part of the picture. It insists that only Russia had the capability to carry out the attack, that Moscow had identified former double agents as legitimate targets, and was known for its involvement in state-sponsored attacks in the past.

In its report on Thursday, the Times of London cited security sources claiming that the location for the manufacture of the Novichok had been identified "using scientific analysis and intelligence in the days after the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal a month ago."

The Times said security sources didn't have "100% certainty" but there was a high degree of confidence in the location. The UK government had known about the facility's existence before the attack on March 4, it added.

The UK Foreign Office refused to comment on The Times' report. "We have nothing more to add to that story," a spokesman told CNN.

Huntsville
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 55°
Florence
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 41°
Fayetteville
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 52°
Decatur
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 54°
Scottsboro
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 54°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 244993

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson32314500
Mobile19859361
Madison13223148
Tuscaloosa13049154
Montgomery12342236
Shelby1031577
Baldwin873398
Lee775766
Morgan662650
Calhoun6301119
Etowah627666
Marshall627255
Houston525638
DeKalb485536
Cullman439442
Limestone425145
St. Clair419555
Lauderdale407854
Elmore406864
Walker3657111
Talladega351454
Jackson320423
Colbert311942
Blount292240
Autauga273542
Franklin252633
Coffee245415
Dale232654
Dallas226232
Chilton223438
Russell22193
Covington218934
Escambia198331
Chambers176850
Tallapoosa176391
Pike158614
Clarke158419
Marion140236
Winston133023
Lawrence127936
Pickens123518
Geneva12218
Marengo121524
Bibb117917
Barbour117310
Butler116541
Randolph102921
Cherokee102224
Hale97031
Clay91924
Fayette91616
Washington91219
Henry8546
Lowndes79929
Monroe78911
Cleburne77214
Macon73722
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69619
Perry6886
Conecuh68414
Lamar6798
Wilcox63518
Sumter58122
Greene42618
Choctaw42213
Coosa3444
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 363466

Reported Deaths: 4541
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby47682658
Davidson42703420
Knox18764149
Rutherford17749161
Hamilton16701152
Williamson1140080
Sumner9744137
Out of TN758152
Wilson748178
Montgomery658683
Sullivan643996
Washington6000106
Putnam591382
Maury584267
Blount549160
Madison5349110
Bradley519735
Sevier484831
Unassigned468222
Robertson377453
Tipton365938
Hamblen345560
Gibson323365
Dyer320751
Greene308272
Anderson294629
Dickson289133
Coffee281841
Bedford275630
Carter272455
Lawrence270034
Obion265950
Cumberland257236
McMinn252355
Warren240020
Roane235229
Loudon228019
Jefferson226932
Fayette225338
Hardeman224737
Weakley216937
Monroe212744
Franklin208634
Lauderdale205023
Hawkins194934
Wayne192010
Trousdale190512
Henderson185133
Macon184028
Hardin178125
White176918
Carroll174734
Marshall174420
Rhea169731
Haywood162930
Lincoln161215
Cocke160630
Cheatham158617
Overton154335
Campbell154223
Henry153619
Giles146949
Smith143819
Johnson141621
McNairy140233
Fentress121920
Hickman118219
Lake11766
Bledsoe11745
DeKalb115822
Crockett115526
Marion109819
Scott10727
Chester102520
Grainger101217
Decatur95513
Unicoi85826
Claiborne8369
Benton81314
Grundy77714
Cannon7663
Lewis76314
Morgan7306
Union7195
Humphreys7098
Jackson68410
Polk66515
Stewart59415
Houston58720
Clay55318
Sequatchie5285
Meigs48913
Perry48321
Moore3963
Pickett39013
Van Buren3672
Hancock1673

Community Events