EU leaders agree: 'Highly likely' Russia to blame for spy attack

EU leaders agree: 'Highly likely' Russia to blame for spy attack
© Getty Images

Leaders of the European Union on Thursday sided with the British government in saying that Russia was likely behind the nerve attack that left a former Russian spy and his daughter hospitalized.

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, tweeted Thursday that it was "highly likely" that Russia's government was behind the attack, which used a Soviet-era nerve agent, adding that there was no other "plausible" explanation.

"[The European Council] agrees with UK government that [it's] highly likely Russia is responsible for #SalisburyAttack and that there is no other plausible explanation," Tusk tweeted.

The council, which sets the EU policy agenda but does not pass legislation, is made up of current leaders from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria and Croatia. Tusk is the former prime minister of Poland.

The Trump administration has also signaled that it agrees with the conclusion reached by U.K. authorities, with U.S. envoys joining their British counterparts in skipping a Russian briefing this week intended to present an opposing view of the Salisbury poison attack.

ADVERTISEMENT

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Wednesday that the Trump administration wasn't interested in Moscow's explanation for the attack, as it is clear Russia was behind the incident that has shaken British politics and further soured relations between Russia and the West.

"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."

A Kremlin spokesman responded Wednesday, decrying the "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.