US defends decision to skip briefing on nerve gas attack: 'Russia was responsible'

US defends decision to skip briefing on nerve gas attack: 'Russia was responsible'
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The Trump administration on Wednesday defended its decision to skip a briefing held by Russian officials at the Russian Foreign Ministry about the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in the U.K.

The U.S. joined the United Kingdom in declining to send representatives, after the British government blamed Russia for poisoning an ex-spy while he was living in the U.K.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the Trump administration has no interest in hearing Moscow's explanation for the nerve agent attack in the U.K., as it is clear Russia was behind the incident that has left dozens hospitalized.

"US & UK were right not to send our Ambassadors to @mfa_russia briefing to hear wild accusations and implausible denials," Nauert tweeted. "#Russia was responsible for the nerve agent attack. Attempts to deny responsibility follow a familiar script: Crimea, MH17, Donbas, Litvinenko, doping, etc..."

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Russia has denied responsibility for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, who were found unconscious on a park bench by police after being exposed to what experts say is a Soviet-era nerve toxin.

A Kremlin spokesman attacked the U.S. and U.K. for not attending the briefing, calling it an "absurd situation" and blasting the two countries' "unwillingness" to hear Russia's explanation.

“It’s another vivid example of the absurd situation when questions are asked and an unwillingness to hear even any answers is demonstrated,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Russia's foreign minister called on the U.K. to calm tensions and warned that actions taken to punish Russia over the poisoning could be met with reciprocal actions. The U.K. already expelled Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning, to which Russia responded by expelling U.K. diplomats.

“If this will continue in the form of any tangible new anti-Russian actions then of course nobody has canceled the principle of reciprocity. It would be good for everyone and for [the British government] if they stopped getting agitated and calmed down," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.