White House refuses to blame Russia for poisoning of Russian spy

The attack targeted Sergei Skripal, who passed Russian secrets to the United Kingdom, and his daughter Yulia. British Prime Minister Theresa May, however, had no qualms in blaming Russian Federation, telling parliament Monday it is "highly likely" that the Kremlin is responsible.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 11, 2017.

The White House on Monday condemned the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in the United Kingdom earlier this month but declined to say whether Moscow was responsible.

"The use of a highly lethal nerve agent against United Kingdom citizens on United Kingdom soil is an outrage", Sanders said in response to a question about the attack and Russia's role.

The White House has finally broken its silence over the attack, describing it as "reckless, indiscriminate and irresponsible".

May said she came to the conclusion based on an investigation of the chemical agent used in the attack in Salisbury and the knowledge that Russian Federation has produced this agent before.

"We offer the fullest condemnation and we extend our sympathy to the victims and their families and our support to the UK Government. I think they're still working through even some of the details of that", Sanders said.

She said the U.S. stands by its ally and is ready to offer assistance.

However, White House reporters said officials repeatedly declined to echo Theresa May's view that Russian Federation was behind or complicit in the attack. Instead, Sanders said the administration is condemning the attack and "standing with our ally".

The White House has not yet addressed recent reports that Skripal had ties with former British MI-6 officer Christopher Steele, who compiled a now famous dossier containing salacious allegations and accusations of collusion against Trump.

"So, you're not saying Russian Federation was behind this?" the reporter asked.



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