"No other plausible explanation" for attack than UK’s

Telephone conversation between the French President and Mrs Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom – Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic

Paris, 15 March 2018

On the morning of Thursday 15 March, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May again discussed the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury by means of a chemical weapon.

The Prime Minister informed the President of the investigation’s progress and the details of the measures announced the previous day.

Since the beginning of the week, the United Kingdom has kept France closely informed of the evidence gathered by British investigators, as well as the elements showing Russia’s responsibility in the attack. France shares the UK’s conclusion that there is no other plausible explanation, and reiterates its solidarity with its ally.

The President and the Prime Minister condemn any use of chemical weapons. They reiterate the importance of fully complying with international conventions and their commitment to the fight against impunity for the use of chemical weapons. Our two countries will continue to cooperate in this field, in particular through the OPCW, UN and NATO, in coordination with our European Union partners.

The French President and the British Prime Minister agreed on the importance of European and transatlantic unity in responding to this event. They will remain in close contact in the coming days./.

Russia – Telephone conversation between M. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, and Mr Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation – Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic

Paris, 19 March 2018

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to Mr Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, on 19 March.

On the day after the presidential election, with Mr Vladimir Putin preparing to occupy the highest executive office once again, the French President, on behalf of France, wished Russia and the Russian people success in the country’s political, democratic, economic and social modernization. He reiterated his commitment to constructive dialogue between Russia, France and Europe. On Syria, the French President expressed his great concern over the situation both in the district of Afrin and in Eastern Ghouta, and he called on Russia to make the maximum effort to bring an end to the fighting and civilian losses. The French President recalled that France remains firmly committed to the full restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally-recognized borders, and to the effective implementation of the Minsk agreements as soon as possible.

The French President called on the Russian authorities to shed full light on the responsibilities linked to the unacceptable attack in Salisbury, and to regain firm control of any programmes not declared to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. He informed the Russian President of the measures taken to ensure the safety of our fellow citizens.

The French President reiterated his strong belief that, on a clarified basis, the cooperation between Europe and Russia, essential to the security of the European continent, is in our countries’ interests./.

European Union – Foreign Affairs Council/statement on the Salisbury attack/UK/Russia – Press communiqué issued by the Council of the European Union¹

Brussels, 19 March 2018

The European Union strongly condemns the attack that took place against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, UK on 4 March 2018, that also left a police officer seriously ill. The lives of many citizens were threatened by this reckless and illegal act. The European Union takes extremely seriously the UK government’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible.

The European Union is shocked at the offensive use of any military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, for the first time on European soil in over 70 years. The use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances is completely unacceptable and constitutes a security threat to us all. Any such use is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, a breach of international law and undermines the rules-based international order. The EU welcomes the commitment of the UK to work closely with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in supporting the investigation into the attack. The Union calls on Russia to address urgently the questions raised by the UK and the international community and to provide immediate, full and complete disclosure of its Novichok programme to the OPCW.

The European Union expresses its unqualified solidarity with the UK and its support, including for the UK’s efforts to bring those responsible for this crime to justice.

The EU will remain closely focused on this issue and its implications./.

¹Source of English text: European Union website.

United Kingdom – Russia – Joint statement by the heads of state and government of France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom¹

Paris, 15 March 2018

We, the leaders of France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom, abhor the attack that took place against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, UK, on 4 March 2018. A British police officer who was also exposed in the attack remains seriously ill, and the lives of many innocent British citizens have been threatened. We express our sympathies to them all, and our admiration for the UK police and emergency services for their courageous response.

This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War. It is an assault on UK sovereignty and any such use by a State party is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and a breach of international law. It threatens the security of us all.

The United Kingdom briefed thoroughly its allies that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack. We share the UK assessment that there is no plausible alternative explanation, and note that Russia’s failure to address the legitimate request by the UK government further underlines its responsibility. We call on Russia to address all questions related to the attack in Salisbury. Russia should in particular provide full and complete disclosure of the Novichok programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Our concerns are also heightened against the background of a pattern of earlier irresponsible Russian behaviour. We call on Russia to live up to its responsibilities as a member of the UN Security Council to uphold international peace and security./.

¹ Source of English text: 10 Downing Street website.

UK – Russia - Statement by the North Atlantic Council on the use of a nerve agent in Salisbury¹

Brussels, 14 March 2018

The UK briefed the North Atlantic Council today on the use of a nerve agent in Salisbury on 4 March.

The UK confirmed the use of a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia and briefed Allies that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible. The UK also confirmed that this was an indiscriminate and reckless attack against the United Kingdom, putting the lives of innocent civilians at risk.

Allies expressed deep concern at the first offensive use of a nerve agent on Alliance territory since NATO’s foundation. Allies expressed solidarity with the UK, offered their support in the conduct of the ongoing investigation, and called on Russia to address the UK’s questions including providing full and complete disclosure of the Novichok programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Allies agreed that the attack was a clear breach of international norms and agreements.

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. 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.

NATO has repeatedly condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria and called on those responsible to be held to account. NATO regards any use of chemical weapons as a threat to international peace and security./.

¹Source of English text: NATO website.

Press briefing by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (excerpts)

Paris, 13 March 2018


United Kingdom

Q. – What’s your reaction following Theresa May’s statement that it was “highly probable” Russia was responsible for poisoning former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter? Could this call into question the President’s visit to Russia?

THE SPOKESPERSON – M. Jean-Yves Le Drian has just spoken to his British counterpart, Mr Boris Johnson.

He expressed France’s solidarity with the United Kingdom, a top-level strategic ally of our country whose values we share, particularly the rule of law.

The attempted murder of two Russian nationals in Salisbury on 4 March using a military-grade toxic nerve agent constitutes a totally unacceptable attack. We have full confidence that the British investigation will quickly establish who is responsible.

France has expressed many times its rejection of impunity for those who use or develop toxic agents, and on 23 January it established a partnership against impunity for the use of such weapons./.

Published on 08/01/2020

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