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Theresa May to EU leaders of Russia’s ‘threat’

(AFP) – British Prime Minister Theresa May will warn European leaders of Russia’s “threat” to the EU member states after accusing Moscow of using the Novichok nerve agent on the UK soil.

The premier will make the statement over dinner in the EU de facto capital Brussels on Thursday, according to an advance briefing from the UK government released Wednesday.

May has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering an attack on former Russian agent Segei Skripal in Salisbury earlier this month.

The prime minister will say that the attack was “an indiscriminate and reckless act against the United Kingdom” amounting to “attempted murder using an illegal chemical weapon that we know Russia possesses.”

“The Russian threat does not respect borders, and as such we are all at risk,” she will say. “We want to work with our EU allies to uphold and protect the international rules-based order, to hold Russia to account for this flagrant breach of international laws, to ensure that such a heinous crime is never repeated, to protect our shared security in the face of the long-term challenge that Russia poses.”

Moscow, meanwhile, maintains that either the British authorities are “unable to protect” their territory from a terrorist attack or “staged the attack themselves,” according to Vladimir Yermakov, the head of the Russian foreign ministry’s non-proliferation department.

On March 7, British authorities announced that Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, had been hospitalized after being found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping center in Salisbury.

British police attributed the critical illness of the two to a nerve agent developed by the former Soviet Union, and the British premier accused Moscow of being responsible.

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