National Security

White House Shares U.K. Conclusion of Russian Culpability for ‘Abhorrent’ Nerve Agent Attack

Police officers in forensics suits and protective masks work at the scene of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal on March 13, 2018 in Salisbury, England. / Getty Images

The White House released a statement Wednesday agreeing with the United Kingdom's conclusion Russia was responsible for a recent nerve agent attack on a former double agent and his daughter, calling it part of a "pattern of behavior in which Russia disregards the international rules-based order."

British investigators concluded this week that Russia was to blame for a March 4 poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, which left both critically ill in the hospital.

In retaliation, Prime Minister Theresa May ordered the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats, a halt to meetings with top Russian officials and the cancellation of an upcoming visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

"The United States stands in solidarity with its closest ally, the United Kingdom," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. "The United States shares the United Kingdom’s assessment that Russia is responsible for the reckless nerve agent attack on a British citizen and his daughter, and we support the United Kingdom’s decision to expel Russian diplomats as a just response.

"This latest action by Russia fits into a pattern of behavior in which Russia disregards the international rules-based order, undermines the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and attempts to subvert and discredit Western democratic institutions and processes. The United States is working together with our allies and partners to ensure that this kind of abhorrent attack does not happen again."

United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley slammed Russia in a statement before the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, saying the country needed to be held accountable for using chemical weapons in this "atrocious crime."