Russia has called a United Nations Security Council meeting for Thursday as it seeks to undermine Britain’s case that it was responsible for the poisoning of a Russian former spy.
Moscow, emboldened after the UK was forced to withdraw a claim that its scientists had pinned the blame on Russia for the attack, will attempt to further embarrass Britain in front of its international allies.
A month after former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in the English city of Salisbury, the United Kingdom and Russia remain locked in a battle over who is to blame.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said it was “highly likely” the attack was ordered by the Russian government. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the accusation. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that the affair was a “pretext” for the expulsion of Russian diplomats around the world.
On Wednesday, Moscow failed in its efforts to persuade the chemical weapons watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, to allow a joint UK-Russia investigation into the attack. The OPCW is already carrying out an independent investigation at the UK’s request, and expects to receive the results of its analysis within a week. Britain is also carrying out its own inquiry, with support from the OPCW.
Attention will now turn to the United Nations. It will be the second time the Security Council has discussed the poisoning. At a previous meeting on March 15 that was called by the UK, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley blasted the Russian government for the attack and called for a firm international response.
The UN ambassador from the UK, Karen Pierce, said “bring it on” after a Russian deputy UN ambassador warned of a moment of truth but also the spreading of lies.
She said the UK could update the Security Council on its findings but that the OPCW report is not ready.