Freeland Condemns ‘Despicable Use’ of Chemical in UK Spy Attack

March 15, 2018 Updated: March 15, 2018

OTTAWA—Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada condemns what she calls “the despicable use of a chemical agent” in a March 4 attack in the United Kingdom.

Russia is accused of using a nerve agent against former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Both remain in critical condition in a Salisbury hospital.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the despicable use of a chemical agent on the sovereign territory of the United Kingdom,” Freeland said in a statement March 14.

“Russia’s likely involvement in this attack is a serious breach of the rules-based order.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May said March 13 that the use of Russian-developed nerve agent Novichok to poison Skripal and his daughter makes it “highly likely” that Russia was involved. Novichok refers to a class of nerve agents developed in the Soviet Union near the end of the Cold War.

Freeland’s statement comes as May and her national security council meet to consider sanctions against Russia after Moscow ignored a deadline to explain how the nerve agent was used to target the former spy.

Moscow says it won’t comply with Britain’s demands unless the government provides samples of the poison collected by investigators. Russia’s embassy in the U.K. warned March 13 that any sanctions would “meet with a response.”

“Canada offers its complete support to the United Kingdom and calls on all states to cooperate fully with British investigators,” Freeland said.

From The Canadian Press