Trump: It Looks Like Russia Was Behind The Attack On Former Spy
Remarks came shortly after Trump's Treasury Department unveiled new sanctions
President Donald Trump said on Thursday when asked if Russia was involved in the recent attack on former Spy, Sergei Skripal, who was poisoned in the UK, "certainly looks like"- before adding that the U.S takes the matter "very seriously."
“It certainly looks like the Russians were behind it, something that should never ever happen and we’re taking it very seriously as I think are many others,” Trump said of the attack of MI6 double agent who is currently fighting for his life after 'being poisoned' outside a UK shopping center in Salisbury, UK.
Politico reports: The remarks came shortly after Trump's Treasury Department unveiled new sanctions on two dozen Russian entities and individuals for their meddling efforts in the 2016 presidential election.
The Trump administration ramped up its criticisms of Russia on Wednesday, with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley saying the U.S. believed Russia was "responsible" for the attack on Skripal, an action she said was worthy of retaliation from the U.N. Security Council.
Haley added U.S. officials stood “in absolutely solidarity” with Britain after the country expelled 23 Russian diplomats on Wednesday, a move it announced in response to nerve agent attack.
Trump's comments on Thursday were his most direct yet on the matter. The president had initially told reporters on Tuesday that he concurred with May's initial finding that Russia was likely behind the attack.
Russia has rejected the allegations from U.S. and British leaders, calling on the U.K. to allow them to release case materials pertaining the Skripal attack so they may conduct their own investigation.
“We consider this hostile action as totally unacceptable, unjustified and shortsighted,” the Russian Embassy to the United Kingdom said in a statement Wednesday in response to the expulsion of its diplomats. “All the responsibility for the deterioration of the Russia-U.K. relationship lies with the current political leadership of Britain.”
The UK's Prime Minister Theresa May has formally accused Russia of orchestrating the attempted assassination of the former spy:
"Based on Russia's record of doing state-sponsored assassinations and our assessment that Russia views some defectors as legitimate targets for assassinations, the government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal," she said."Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of its potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others."