Washington: Russia is “an irresponsible force of instability" in the world, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday as he slammed Moscow over its alleged involvement in an 'outrageous' nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in the UK.
Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found collapsed after being poisoned last week. Both remain in a serious condition along with a police officer who came in contact with the military-grade nerve agent.
British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday said it was "highly likely" that Russia was behind the nerve agent attack on Skripal who was once an informant for Britain's foreign intelligence service. Russia has denied the allegation.
Tillerson said the US would stand “in solidarity” with the UK and would coordinate its response to the attack.
"We have full confidence in the UK's investigation and its assessment that Russia was likely responsible for the nerve agent attack that took place in Salisbury last week," he said in a statement.
Tillerson said there was never a justification for such an attack - the attempted murder of a private citizen on the soil of a sovereign nation - and "the US is outraged that Russia appears to have again engaged in such behaviour".
"From Ukraine to Syria - and now the UK - Russia continues to be, acting with open disregard for the sovereignty of other states and the life of their citizens," he alleged.
"We agree that those responsible - both those who committed the crime and those who ordered it - must face appropriately serious consequences. We stand in solidarity with our Allies in the United Kingdom and will continue to coordinate closely our responses," Tillerson, who is on a tour to Africa, said.
The White House condemned the chemical attack as "an outrage".
"We are standing with our UK ally," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters.
Sanders said the US has been monitoring the incident closely and takes it very seriously.
"The use of a highly lethal nerve agent against UK citizens on UK soil is an outrage," she said.
"The attack was reckless, indiscriminate, and irresponsible. We offer the fullest condemnation, and we extend our sympathy to the victims and their families, and our support to the UK government. We stand by our closest ally and the special relationship that we have," Sanders said.
Russia accused the western media of trying to "undermine trust" ahead of the football World Cup to be hosted by the country.