Just one day after Sarah Huckabee Sanders went through verbal hoops to avoid naming Russia as the party responsible for poisoning a former spy with a deadly nerve agent, the White House press secretary released a surprisingly stern message on Wednesday denouncing the nation.
In the statement, Huckabee Sanders repeated her claim that the U.S. stood in solidarity with the U.K., but this time she said the Trump administration shares its ally’s conclusion that Russia is culpable for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia. Both remain critically ill.
The message from Sanders read:
“The United States shares the United Kingdom’s assessment that Russia is responsible for the reckless nerve agent attack on a British citizen and his daughter, and we support the United Kingdom’s decision to expel Russian diplomats as a just response. This latest action by Russia fits into a pattern of behavior in which Russia disregards the international rules-based order, undermines the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and attempts to subvert and discredit Western democratic institutions and processes. The United States is working together with our allies and partners to ensure that this kind of abhorrent attack does not happen again.”
After U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said investigators found it was “highly likely” Russia was behind the attack, the country expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the country. May said President Donald Trump, along with other U.K. allies, would “cooperate closely to respond” to the attack, according to Reuters.
Though U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and now Huckabee Sanders have come out and condemned Russia, Trump himself has yet to acknowledge the country’s responsibility in the attack.