Everyday there seems to be another shoe to drop either domestically or on foreign soil. The current brouhaha appears to be the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal in Britain via a military grade nerve agent called Novichok. The U.K. has determined Russia was the behind the attack. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was outraged by the attack and vowed an allied response:
“We have full confidence in the U.K.’s investigation and its assessment that Russia was likely responsible for the nerve agent attack that took place in Salisbury last week,” Tillerson said in a statement late on March 12 hours after British Prime Minister Theresa May said it was “highly likely” Russia was behind the March 4 attack on Skripal and his daughter, both of whom are still hospitalized and in critical condition.
“There is never a justification for this type of attack — the attempted murder of a private citizen on the soil of a sovereign nation — and we are outraged that Russia appears to have again engaged in such behavior,” Tillerson said.
“From Ukraine to Syria — and now the U.K. — Russia continues to be an irresponsible force of instability in the world, acting with open disregard for the sovereignty of other states and the life of their citizens,” he said.
“We agree that those responsible — both those who committed the crime and those who ordered it — must face appropriately serious consequences,” Tillerson said. “We stand in solidarity with our allies in the United Kingdom and will continue to coordinate closely our responses.”
Novichok was developed by Russia during the Cold War. Skripal was a retired Russian military intelligence colonel who convicted in military court in 2006 of treason and for passing secrets to the British Secret Service. He was released in 2010 in exchange for 10 Russian agents detained in the U.S. The U.S. could be smarting from the poisoning of Skripal for two reasons.
First, it could represent the killing of a civilian on British soiled, and thus, deemed as an attack against Britain. An attack against a key U.S. ally could warrant a response. Secondly, it could be deemed as a renege on the 2010 to release Skripal in exchange for Russian agents held in the U.S. This could be seen as an affront to the U.S.