Russia defense deal puts US in bind

The nerve-agent attack against a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain's southwestern city of Salisbury sparked heated discussions between Russian and British envoys Thursday at the United Nations (UN) Security Council.

Skripal's cat was euthanized by a vet after it was found in a "distressed" state, according to a spokesperson for the UK's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found poisoned on a bench in The Maltings on Sunday March 4th.

"Mr. Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russian Federation", specifically from the Novichok group, British Prime Minister Theresa May said following the attack.

On Thursday, Russia's United Nations ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Britain had not yet mentioned the fate of the pets, which he said was an important piece of evidence.

Scientists said the Skripals had likely been treated with Atropine - a drug used to counter the effects of nerve agents - and marvelled at their partial recovery given the circumstances. "We have conveyed it to Yulia Skripal and we await her response", she said.

Following the update on Mr Skripal's condition, the Russian Embassy tweeted: 'Good news!'

Zakharova took to Facebook on Friday to express her disbelief after the news surfaced: "There was a search, but they didn't notice the animals?"

May's government, alongside the United States and more than two dozen other countries, have expelled about 150 Russian diplomats and intelligence agents from their embassies overseas.

Two pet guinea pigs died from thirst in the days after the attack and were also destroyed at a government facility.

The attack prompted the biggest Western expulsion of Russian diplomats since the height of the Cold War as allies in Europe and the USA sided with Ms May's view that Moscow was either responsible or had lost control of the nerve agent.

A Russian spokeswoman brought up the Skripals' cat and guinea pigs directly, Wednesday, when the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons convened a special meeting to address the incident.

A popular TV host said blaming Russian Federation is a bit like saying if someone's hit in the head with an iPad, America is to blame because the iPad is a US invention - which Mikael Fishman, the former editor of the Moscow Times, called "totally absurd". He added that blaming Russian Federation for the attack is a "coordinated, very well-planned campaign" to undermine Moscow's influence around the world. However, officials said those being announced Friday were 'more comprehensive'.

In his statement to the 15-member council, Mr Nebenzia questioned why Russian Federation would eliminate someone using a "dangerous and highly public" method.

Her father, who was imprisoned for passing the identities of Russian secret agents to the UK's MI6, settled in Britain after he was released as part of a spy-swap deal between Moscow and the U.S.

Moscow denies any involvement in the attack and says it has no stocks of "Novichok" or any other chemical weapon.

  • Rogelio Becker