British Envoy: Russia's Attempted Assassination of Ex-Spy was ‘No Common Crime'
Britain's deputy U.N. ambassador said Wednesday that a thorough investigation points to Russia being behind the attempted assassination of a former Russian spy in an English town.
"On the 4th of March, a weapon so horrific that it is banned from use in war was used in a peaceful city in my country," British deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen told Security Council members of the attack using a chemical weapon.
Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found unconscious on a park bench in the town of Salisbury and rushed to the hospital, where they remain in serious condition. Several other individuals, including a police officer, were sickened.
British officials said the chemical nerve agent known as Novichok was used in the attack. It was developed by the Soviet Union and inherited by Russia.
"This was no common crime," Allen said. "It was an unlawful use of force."
He noted Russia has a history of state-sponsored assassinations and cited the 2006 murder of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned and later died in London.
He said his government has asked the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to independently verify the nerve agent used.
Earlier Wednesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced several reprisals, including the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from Britain.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia dismissed the British accusations.
"Russia had nothing to do with this incident," he told council members.
He demanded that London provide samples of substances used in the attack for a joint investigation.
The Russian envoy said his government had ceased developing chemical weapons in 1992 and destroyed its stockpiles in September 2017.
Slovenian PM Resigns
Slovenia Prime Minister Miro Cerar resigned late Wednesday over a Supreme Court decision nullifying a referendum in favor of a major railroad project.
"This was the straw that broke the camel's back," Cerar said in his resignation note to parliament. "The second track project has been hit by another blow taken by those who want to stop Slovenia's positive development. I don't want to be part of such stories."
He plans to submit his resignation to President Borut Pahor Thursday.
Voters in September approved the $1.2 billion project to extend a key rail line from an Adriatic port to the Italian border.
But the Slovenian Supreme Court ordered a new vote, saying the government unfairly influenced voters to approve the project.
Cerar said the rail line would be of "strategic importance for the development of Slovenia."
Cerar says his center-left coalition is leaving the country in much better economic shape than it was when it took power in 2014.
Parliamentary elections are set for June, but Cerar's resignation may move them up.