It seems that even European allies realize that the United Kingdom was quick to accuse Russia of Skripal’s poisoning, albeit they did approve May’s statement that it was “highly likely” Russia was responsible for the attack and said that there was no "plausible alternative explanation."
The EU has also recalled its ambassador to Russia Markus Ederer for consultations in Brussels. Speaking on the envoy's recall at a summit in Brussels on Friday, President of EU Commission Donald Tusk said it was an "extraordinary measure," which had never been taken before.
“The European Union takes extremely seriously the UK Government’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible,” the draft text, obtained by Politico, read.
In the meantime, Greek diplomats have not yielded to the temptation to unconditionally agree with the UK, insisting they wanted clearer evidence of Moscow’s involvement in the alleged attack.
“I think we will have to express our solidarity to the UK, the British people. But at the same time we need to investigate … I think that we have to be very responsible on that issue,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said during the summit in Brussels.
Other EU diplomats have confessed that Italy and Greece strongly resisted the push by the UK to toughen the language with Russia:
“They say that there’s no smoking gun, or at least not yet,” said an EU diplomat familiar with the case, as cited by Politico.
While the UK’s alleged aim of persuading EU member-states to unanimously endorse London’s stance on Moscow may have failed, Theresa May’s government was satisfied by the response from EU Council President Donald Tusk, who strongly criticized the attack and responded abruptly to the news about Vladimir Putin’s re-election, saying he was “not in the mood to celebrate President Putin’s reappointment” after the “Salisbury attack.”
Skripal Is Unable to Communicate, May Never Recover
Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia who were allegedly targeted by a chemical substance, identified by UK police as a military-grade nerve agent, the so-called Novichok, ostensibly developed in Russia, remain in critical condition, with doctors saying they could suffer long-term brain damage and may never fully recover.
“The precise effect of their exposure on their long-term health remains unclear albeit medical tests indicate that their mental capacity might be compromised to an unknown and so far unascertained degree,” said Judge David Williams, who granted permission for blood samples to be taken from the victims in order to be tested by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The Judge added that Skripal was unable to communicate in any “meaningful way.”
Theresa May immediately accused Russia of “attempted murder,” ordering the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from the country. Moscow has vehemently denied any involvement in the alleged attack, offering to assist in investigating the case; while British authorities have declined Russia’s requests to provide samples of the substance purportedly used in Salisbury. As a response to the UK’s measures, Russia declared 23 British diplomats personae non gratae, and revoked its agreement in the UK General Consulate’s operation in St. Petersburg.