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EU Backs Britain in Blaming Russia for Ex-Spy's Poisoning

Peter Nicholls / Reuters

The French, German and wider European Union leaders backed Britain on Thursday in blaming Moscow over a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in England. 

British Prime Minister Theresa May has sought EU-wide support against Russia for the March 4 poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury this month. In the early days after the attack, May won the support of French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump when they said they shared Britain's assessment of Russian culpability.

In a joint summit statement Thursday, the 28 leaders said the EU “agrees with the United Kingdom government’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible and that there is no plausible alternative explanation.”

After talks that ran into the early hours of Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel raised the prospect of coordinating the EU for further punitive measures against Russia in response to the attack.

"We are determined to react together, with the language we used here, but also possibly through additional measures," Merkel said at the end of the first day of the summit.

May, who used a dinner with EU leaders to call on all governments to confront Russia, welcomed the support.

“The threat that Russia poses respects no borders,” she told reporters. “This is about us standing together to uphold our values.”

The EU announced Friday that it would recall its envoy to Moscow for consultations.

Reuters contributed reporting to this article.

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