On Use of a Nerve-Agent Attack in Salisbury, UK

Military forces work on a van in Winterslow, England, Monday, March 12, 2018, following the nerve-agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, in Salisbury, England, on Sunday March 4, 2018. (AP Photo)

Statement on Use of a Nerve Agent in Salisbury, UK

As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Harry Kamian
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
March 15, 2018

The United States stands in solidarity with the United Kingdom. The United States shares the UK’s assessment that Russia is responsible for the reckless nerve agent attack on a British citizen and his daughter, and we support the United Kingdom’s decision to expel Russian diplomats as a just response. As our esteemed British colleague has noted, the UK has confirmed that this incident involved the use of a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by the Russian Federation.

Use of chemical weapons is a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Since its entry into force in 1997, the Chemical Weapons Convention has become one of the pillars of the global non-proliferation regime. The Convention prohibits the development, transfer and use of chemical weapons. States Parties to the Convention take on a duty to uphold and enforce its fundamental tenets. States Parties commit not to develop, produce or otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons, nor to transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons to anyone. Mr. Chair, States Parties also undertake not to engage in any military preparations to use chemical weapons, nor to commit to assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage in prohibited activity.

Mr. Chair, this 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. The United States is working together with our allies and partners to ensure that this kind of abhorrent attack does not happen again.

Mr. Chair, in closing, this attack was a clear breach of international norms and agreements. There can be no justification for the attempted murder of a private citizen on the soil of a sovereign nation. We stand with the United Kingdom and the international community to hold Russia accountable.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.