Pompeo: NATO 'more indispensable than ever' in light of Russia threat

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoCotton warns China: Crackdown on Hong Kong would be 'grave miscalculation' Pompeo expresses concern over North Korea missile tests Pompeo acknowledges 'places where ISIS is more powerful today' MORE said Friday that the NATO alliance is "more indispensable than ever" after recent actions from Russia, including an assassination attempt on British soil.

In his first public remarks after being confirmed as President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE's new secretary of State, Pompeo urged the alliance not to return to "business as usual."

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"In light of Russia's unacceptable actions, NATO is more indispensable than ever," Pompeo said. "As our allies agree, the use of military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia on U.K. territory was a reckless action that put the lives of innocent civilians at risk."

"NATO should not return to business as usual with Russia until Moscow shows a clear change in its actions," he added.

Russia has denied responsibility for the March poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, who were found unconscious on a park bench suffering from what the United Kingdom said were the symptoms of a Soviet-developed nerve agent.

The British government, along with the Trump administration, condemned the actions as a Russian operation and refused to accept the denials of the Russian government.

Pompeo's predecessor, Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump searches for backstops amid recession worries State Dept. extends travel ban to North Korea Scaramucci breaks up with Trump in now-familiar pattern MORE, laid blame for the attack at Russia's feet before his firing by Trump last month.

“From Ukraine to Syria — and now the [United Kingdom] — 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,” Tillerson said in early March.

Russia has issued a number of statements accusing the U.K. and U.S. of deliberately inflaming tensions over the matter, while ignoring Russia's explanations.

Trump famously called the NATO alliance "obsolete" during his campaign for president, a statement he walked back last year.