Punitive measures

BRUSSELS – European Union member states agreed at a summit on Friday to take additional punitive measures against Russia for a nerve agent attack in Britain, as Moscow accused the bloc of joining a London-driven hate campaign against it.

Moscow has denied that it i s behind the attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the first known offensive use of a nerve toxin in Europe since World War Two.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said evidence of Russian culpability presented by British Prime Minister Theresa May was “very solidly based” and promised new measures after EU leaders agreed late on Thursday to recall their ambassador to Moscow.

“Germany and France agree that additional steps, on top of the recall of the ambassador, are necessary,” Ms Merkel said at a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Mr Macron called the attack “unprecedented” and said Europe must respond: “It is an aggression against the security and sovereignty of an ally that is today a member of the European Union. It demands a reaction. This is clear.”