Joint media release:

  • The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister
  • The Hon. Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs

15 March 2018

The Australian Government is gravely concerned that a military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia has been used in an attack on 4 March in the United Kingdom. We share the UK’s outrage over this targeted attempt to commit murder using chemical weapons.

Australia condemns the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances. There is no circumstance that justifies the use of such indiscriminate, abhorrent weapons.

UK Prime Minister May has made a compelling case on the responsibility of the Russian State for this attack in an unlawful use of force by Russia against the United Kingdom and her people. She described the Russian response as demonstrating the Russian Government’s complete disdain for the gravity of these events, responding with sarcasm, contempt and defiance.

Australia stands with the UK in solidarity and supports, in the strongest terms, Prime Minister May’s response to this heinous attack, the first use of chemical weapons in Europe since World War Two.

We support her Government’s commitment to ensure a full investigation and efforts to bring those responsible to justice. The Australian Government also supports the UK Government’s right to take retaliatory measures, including its decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats and to call for an emergency session of the UN Security Council.

Australia has already conveyed our serious concerns overnight at a meeting of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. We also raised our grave concerns about this attack at the Human Rights Council on 14 March in Geneva

Australia is considering its responses in support of the United Kingdom, in close consultation with the UK Government and other partners.