This has no place in a civilized world, says Stoltenberg
Secretary General of NATO and former Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg (Labour), believe that the nerve gas attack in Salisbury is part of a bigger picture involving Russian interference.
– This is totally not acceptable. It does not belong in a civilized world, says Stoltenberg.
He does not want to comment on the intelligence, but makes it clear that he has no reason to doubt the conclusion reached by the British Government.
Prime Minister of the UK, Theresa May, has stated that there are only two credible explanations to the attack. It was either an act carried out directly by the Russian state, aimed at the United Kingdom. Alternatively it means that Russia has lost control of a batch of nerve gas developed by the military, meaning that third parties have gained possession of a lethal toxin developed by the USSR.
– Both scenarios are very serious. The Russians have not even provided any explanation to how this substance has appeared in Salisbury, says Stoltenberg.
Stoltenberg is to meet with Boris Johnson
The United Kingdom has already briefed its allies in NATO on the incident, where the Russian ex-spy, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia, were found unconscious in Salisbury after being exposed to the nerve gas.
Both are still in coma, and their condition is described as being critical.
On Monday, Stoltenberg will discuss the matter with Britain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Boris Johnson.
Stoltenberg says that the nerve gas used is among the most potent ever developed. He says it’s the first time a chemical weapon such as this has been employed in an allied country after NATO was founded.
The backdrop of the attack is a pattern of irresponsible Russian behavior seen over the course of many years, says Stoltenberg.
It’s part of a bigger picture, he says.
The NATO boss refers to the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, Russian support to armed insurgents in Eastern Ukraine, their military presence in Moldova and Georgia, political intervention in the Western Balkans and not in the least attempts to influence elections in Western countries. He further refers to liquidations, such as the murder by use of poison of Russian ex-spy Aleksandr Litvinenko in 2006.
– Additionally, we have attacks in Russia that are likely to be related to the oppression of the opposition by the authorities, and we have statements from (ex secret police boss) Putin and others that people viewed as traitors are legitimate military targets, says Stoltenberg.
According to Stoltenberg, the examples are simply to many to make it is credible that Russia has nothing to do with this type of attacks.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today