Poland's response to attack on Skripal possible - Deputy FM

It is possible that Poland will take steps towards Russia either on a national level or in a coalition of countries in response to the attempted murder of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal, PAP was told on Thursday by Deputy Foreign Minister Bartosz Cichocki.

The official stressed that in the context of the attack on Skripal, the wreckage of the Polish presidential plane (which crashed near Smolensk, Russia, on April 10, 2010, killing 96 Polish officials, including the then President Lech Kaczynski, and which has not been returned to Poland - PAP) has become a growing reputational problem for Russia.

Asked about the possibility of Poland's sanctions against Russia in connection with the attempted murder of Skripal and his daughter, Cichocki said that "steps either on a national level or in a coalition of countries are being taken into account."  

"This is a range of various measures; we will implement them before we speak about them," Cichocki, who is responsible for eastern affairs and security, said.

He also declared that Poland wanted the EU and NATO to have "a clear position", which would express solidarity with Great Britain and make Russia responsible for and obliged to answer the charges made by the British side instead of arrogantly and cynically disavowing them.

The official explained that Poland wanted the incident in the English city of Salisbury to be treated as a problem in relations between Europe and Russia, and not in bilateral contacts between Moscow and London.

"We believe that the life and security of EU citizens was endangered," he emphasised.

"Something evil has happened, and it is a sign of another stage of the degradation of Russian politics in the direction of full irresponsibility. If we do not give a firm response on the European or transatlantic level, these politics will continue to further deteriorate in a direction, which will be very dangerous for us," he said.

Asked whether it was the right moment for Poland to return to the international forum on disputable issues in its relations with Russia, like, for instance, the wreckage of the presidential plane, Cichocki answered that "talks on this subject are being conducted separately."

Cichocki expressed his hope that "European societies, woken up by the Salisbury incident, will also turn attention to Russia's behaviour before and after the Smolensk air disaster."

He also stressed that in the light of the Salisbury attack and the shooting down of the Malaysian plane over the Donbas, the fact that Russia had not returned the wreckage to Poland "leads to the question of what Russia has to hide."

The diplomatic crisis between London and Moscow has been caused by the March 4 poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury. Britain maintains Russia used a military-grade nerve agent known as Novichok in the attack, which left the father and daughter in a critical condition. Moscow has fiercely denied involvement.