After a former Russian spy and his daughter collapsed in a suspected poisoning, the UK’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said his country would respond if evidence proves a foreign state was behind the incident. Meanwhile, the Russian embassy in London said the statements were part of an “anti-Russian campaign.”
Yulia Skripal Photo Credit: Facebook screenshot/Yulia Skripal
The UK will respond if investigations prove a state was behind the apparent poisoning of the former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury, warned UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the British government has convened for an emergency to discuss the affair.
Speaking to the House of Commons on Tuesday, Johnson said that his country would make it clear to governments “around the world that no attempts to take innocent lives on UK soil will go unpunished.” While he clarified that he was no pointing any fingers, the foreign secretary added: “if evidence emerges of state responsibility, the government will respond appropriately and robustly.”
Sergei Skripal, 66, and daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, were found unconscious on a bench found near a Salisbury shopping center and were taken to a nearby hospital. The pair remains in critical condition as UK authorities are attempting to identify the “unknown substance” that may have been used to poison them.
Russia’s embassy in London responded to Johnson’s remarks in a statement on Tuesday. “The Foreign Secretary spoke in such a manner as if the investigation was already over and Russia was found responsible for what had happened in Salisbury,” it read. “We regret that instead of a proper official clarification on the issue the Foreign Secretary chose to threaten Russia with retribution. Looks like the script of yet another anti-Russian campaign has been already written.”
Sergei Skripal is a former Russian official who was convicted by Russia of spying for the UK. He arrived in the country in 2010 with his wife as part of a “spy exchange” program. According to the BBC, Skripal’s wife, elder brother and son have also died in the past several years, in what the family described as mysterious circumstances.