Military personnel in protective coveralls handle equipment during an operation in a cordoned off area behind a police station in Salisbury, southern England, on March 11, 2018. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A British deputy commander in the international coalition to defeat ISIS highlighted Moscow's "mockery of the world" after his prime minister, Theresa May, blamed Russia for a nerve agent attack.
"Russian leadership continues to mock the world with complete disregard for international law, ethics and moral conduct. They must not be allowed to derail the #InternationalCommunity fight against terrorism," Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney tweeted on Tuesday.
May has said it is "very likely" Russia was responsible for the poisonings of former spy Sergei Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 4. They remain hospitalized.
The British military units specialized in dealing with chemical agents like the Russian-manufactured Novichok were deployed to the city, where traces of the nerve agent were found at cemetery, Italian restaurant, and nearby pub. Skripal's wife and son are buried in the cemetery.
Officials have urged locals to take precautions as they work through decontamination procedures.
The Foreign Office has summoned Russia's ambassador.
"Either this was a direct action by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of its potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others," May said in the House of Commons.
Russia has denied any responsibility.
Two weeks ago, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2401 that called for a 30-day humanitarian ceasefire to allow delivery of aid and evacuation of the wounded.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council on Monday that “Syria is bleeding inside and out.”
The most dire humanitarian situations are in western and southern Syria — Eastern Ghouta, Afrin, and parts of Idlib and Damascus — areas where Russia and the forces loyal to the regime of Bashar al-Assad opearate and the US-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS denies having a presence.