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UK lauds EU sanctions against 'reckless' Russian military intelligence

A scaffolder works at the site of former spy Sergei Skripal's house, in Salisbury, Britain January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain on Monday welcomed European Union sanctions against Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency, saying it sent a tough message to the Kremlin after a chemical attack against a former British spy in an English cathedral city.

“Today’s new sanctions deliver on our vow to take tough action against the reckless and irresponsible activities of the Russian military intelligence organization, the GRU, which put innocent British citizens in serious danger in Salisbury last year,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said.

Britain has blamed GRU for sending two agents to kill Sergei Skripal — himself a former GRU spy — with a nerve agent sprayed on his door. Skripal and his daughter survived.

Russia denied involvement and the two men named by Britain as GRU officers said they were in Salisbury to see the cathedral’s spire.

After the Skripal poisoning, dozens of Western countries launched the biggest expulsion of Russian spies working under diplomatic cover since the height of the Cold War. Moscow replied with expulsions of Westerners.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton