Pompeo: US will hold Russia accountable for poisoning of ex-spy in UK

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo: There's 'no indication' Iran will change direction Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Trump confirms he authorized Rand Paul to negotiate with Iran MORE told his Russian counterpart on Tuesday that the U.S. would "hold Russia accountable" for its role in the poisoning of an ex-spy in the United Kingdom last year.

Deputy State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement that Pompeo told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that the U.S. would impose penalties as required by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act.

Russia's readout of the conversation between the two diplomats warned that further sanctions would increase tensions between the two countries.

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The U.K., the U.S. and international observers have blamed Russia for the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter during a March 2018 incident. Both were left gravely ill after being exposed to a nerve agent near their home in Salisbury.

The incident prompted a global response, with the United States, Britain and other European nations expelling multiple Russian diplomats. Moscow has denied any involvement.

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDemocrats pledge to fight Trump detention policy during trip to border Pompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report Dem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors MORE (N.J.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, raised concerns late last month that the Trump administration had not yet imposed new sanctions on Russia for the Skripal poisoning.

Under the law, a second tranche of sanctions is automatically triggered unless Russia meets a number of strict criteria, including showing it is no longer using chemical or biological weapons and allowing for independent inspections.

The State Department alerted Congress in November that Moscow had not complied with the requirements to avoid a second round of sanctions. However, the U.S. has not formally announced new sanctions on Moscow in the more than two months that have since passed.

Pompeo on Tuesday also reminded Lavrov that the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty would expire in roughly six months unless Russia complied with the pact. President TrumpDonald John TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller MORE announced earlier this month that the U.S. plans to stop complying with the treaty, citing Russia's lack of compliance.