White House blames Russia for 'abhorrent' attack on ex-Russian spy

White House blames Russia for 'abhorrent' attack on ex-Russian spy
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The White House said in a statement Wednesday that it agreed with the British government’s assessment that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom.

“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,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in the statement.

“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,” she continued. 

"The United States is working together with our allies and partners to ensure that this kind of abhorrent attack does not happen again."

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The White House’s official statement on the attack came just hours after United States Ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.) Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyWatchdog: First lady spokeswoman may have violated Hatch Act with ‘MAGA’ tweet Ryan: 'The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally' Guatemala asks President Trump to weaken anti-corruption commission MORE said Russia was responsible for using a nerve agent to poison the ex-spy and his daughter.

“The United States believes that Russia is responsible for two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent,” Haley said. 

U.K. officials have blamed Russia for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. Both are critically ill after the attack.

White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah also said Wednesday that it "certainly appears" that Russia was behind the poisoning.

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Wednesday that she would expel 23 Russian diplomats from the U.K. after Russia failed to address the poisoning by her country’s deadline.

Russia has denied any involvement in the poisoning.

“They have treated the use of a military-grade nerve agent in Europe with sarcasm, contempt and defiance,” May said of Russian officials.

The White House statement followed another one on Wednesday in which the administration condemned Russia's military actions in Ukraine and slammed its "false claims" to the territory of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.