Salisbury fallout: EU adopts sanctions against chemical weapons’ proliferation

Police stand behind a cordon in Salisbury, Britain, 6 March 2018. [Neil Hall/EPA/EFE]

EU foreign affairs ministers in Luxembourg adopted yesterday (15 October) a new sanctions regime as response to the use and proliferation of Chemical weapons. Russia was not mentioned.

“The Council adopted a new regime of restrictive measures to address the use and proliferation of chemical weapons. This decision is a direct follow-up to the conclusions of the European Council of 28 June 2018”, the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions read.

The Junne summit conclusions make reference to the Joint Communication on Europe’s resilience to hybrid and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear-related threats of 13 June 2018. This document refers to the nerve agent attacks in Salisbury in March 2018, that target of which has apparently been Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal.

Russia’s ambassador to London denied last Friday that spies from his country’s military intelligence agency had tried to kill Skripal and hack various organizations across the world.

Despite Brexit, the EU has made proof of unwavering solidarity with the UK over the Skripal case.

Britain urges US, Europe to 'go further' in countering Russia

New British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Tuesday (21 August) will urge the United States and European countries to do more to call out Russia’s “malign behavior” and keep Vladimir Putin in check, notably by implementing tough sanctions.

When asked directly whether he accepted the British accusation that agents from Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency had tried to kill Skripal in March, Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko said: “No we don’t accept that.”

“Of course I deny it because this is part of a general campaign launched in Britain and supported by the United States… to discredit my country,” he said, as quoted by Reuters.

The EU will now be able to impose sanctions on persons and entities involved in the development and use of chemical weapons anywhere, regardless of their nationality and location.

The restrictive measures target persons and entities who are directly responsible for the development and use of chemical weapons as well as those who provide financial, technical or material support, and those who assist, encourage or are associated with them.

Sanctions consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed.

According to the FAC conclusions, this decision contributes to the EU’s efforts to counter the proliferation and use of chemical weapons which poses a serious threat to international security. It supports the global prohibition of chemical weapons as laid down by the Chemical Weapons Convention, against a background of increasing chemical attacks in various parts of the world.

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