The Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemns in the strongest terms the use of chemical weapons in Salisbury, the United Kingdom, on 4 March. In this case, the use of a nerve agent should be considered as a chemical attack, which is a serious violation of international norms and law, including the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention).
Latvia is prepared to render its allies the required support and to work towards the EU and NATO achieving an agreement on a joint action on this case. Those who planned and carried out the attack in the territory of a NATO member state must receive an appropriate and strong response. Latvia supports the UK’s efforts of carrying out an investigation into the circumstances of the perpetrated crime.
This incident confirms the necessity for stepping up the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention to prevent the use of chemical weapons.
On 12 March, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, following the statement of the British Prime Minister Theresa May to Parliament, expressed support for Latvia’s ally the United Kingdom, emphasising that the use of a nerve agent against Sergei and Yulia Skripal was a clear violation of international law and that Russia must come forward with prompt and in-depth explanations. The Foreign Minister called on the EU and NATO to agree on an effective response to a criminal act of this kind.
On 4 March, the 66-year-old Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were taken to a hospital in the city of Salisbury in the United Kingdom. The investigation revealed that a deadly Novichok nerve agent had been used in the attack on the Skripals. Further investigation into the crime is under way in the UK.
Specialised British security authorities have established that the chemical used is part of a group of nerve agents known as Novichok. British Prime Minister Theresa May, in her statement to the House of Commons on 12 March, concluded that there were two explanations for what happened: either this was a direct act by Russia against the United Kingdom, or the Russian government had lost control of that potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others. The British government summoned the Russian Ambassador to the Foreign Office and asked him to provide an explanation, by the end of 13 March, which of the two possibilities it was.