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

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump cancels delegation's trip to Davos amid shutdown China 'not worried in the slightest' about concern over Canadian's death sentence The Hill's Morning Report — Shutdown fallout — economic distress 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 TrumpTrump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about plans to build Trump Tower in Moscow during 2016 campaign: report DC train system losing 0k per day during government shutdown Senate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees 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 TillersonTrump concealed details of meetings with Putin from senior officials: report Forget the border wall, a coup in Guatemala is the real emergency Tweets, confirmations and rallies: Trump's year in numbers 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.