Europe News

Germany urges Russia to be transparent over nerve agent attack in Britain

FILE PHOTO: German government spokesman Steffen Seibert addresses a news conference in Berlin, Germany, April 15, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany believes there is “no plausible alternative” to Britain’s view that the responsibility for the chemicals weapons attack on a former spy in England is to be found in Russia, a government spokesman said.

“What happened - the deployment of a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by the Soviet Union, the first offensive use of such an agent since World War Two - was an immense, appalling event,” said government spokesman Steffen Seibert.

“It was important for the Chancellor (Angela Merkel) and the government to show very clearly that in this matter we are on the side of Britain,” he said, adding that Germany had not been asked to assist with Britain’s investigations.

“If a request comes, then of course we will help, but I assume British and U.N. experts have comparable abilities,” he said, welcoming Britain’s decision to invite the international Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to verify Britain’s conclusion that Russia was responsible.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Michelle Martin