Tillerson casts poisoning as sign of more aggressive Russia - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Tillerson casts poisoning as sign of more aggressive Russia

Posted: Updated:
ABOARD A U.S. GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT -

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson cast the poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain as part of a "certain unleashing of activity" by Russia that the United States is struggling to understand. He warned that the poisoning would "certainly trigger a response."
  
Tillerson, echoing the British government's finger-pointing toward Moscow, said he didn't yet know whether Russia's government knew of the attack with a military-grade nerve agent, but that one way or another, "it came from Russia." He said it was "almost beyond comprehension" why a state actor would deploy such a dangerous substance in a public place in a foreign country where others could be exposed.
  
"I cannot understand why anyone would take such an action. But this is a substance that is known to us and does not exist widely," Tillerson told reporters as he flew from Nigeria to Washington. "It is only in the hands of a very, very limited number of parties."
  
British Prime Minister Theresa May said that Novichock, the nerve agent used against ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, was developed by the Soviet Union near the end of the Cold War. Skripal, 66, was a Russian military intelligence officer before flipping to the British side in the 1990s, going to jail in Russia in 2006 and being freed in an exchange of spies in 2010. Moscow has dismissed the suggestion it was involved in his March 4 poisoning as "a circus show."
  
Tillerson, who spoke Monday by phone with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, said he's grown "extremely concerned" about Russia, noting that he spent most of the first year of the Trump administration trying to solve problems and narrow differences with the Kremlin. He said after a year of trying, "we didn't get very far."
  
"Instead what we've seen is a pivot on their part to be more aggressive," Tillerson said. "And this is very, very concerning to me and others that there seems to be a certain unleashing of activity that we don't fully understand what the objective behind that is."
  
He said if the poisoning turned out to be the work of Russia's government, "this is a pretty serious action."
  
"It certainly will trigger a response. I'll leave it at that," Tillerson said.
  
Tillerson, whose relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin dates back to his days as Exxon Mobil's CEO, has sought to work with Russia on narrow areas where the two countries could find common ground, such as a cease-fire in southwestern Syria that has largely held since last year. But those efforts have had diminishing results. Tillerson's efforts to persuade Moscow to stop propping up Syrian President Bashar Assad and to pull out of Crimea have yielded little to no progress.
  
At the same time, President Donald Trump's critics regularly accuse his administration of failing to stand up to the Kremlin, especially over Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Russia hawks in Congress are particularly miffed that the State Department so far has declined to use a new law letting the U.S. slap sanctions on foreign companies or governments that do business with Russia's defense or intelligence sectors. Those powers took effect in January, but so far nobody has been punished.
  
___
  
Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Defense DNA request denied in deaths of Colorado mom, kids

    Defense DNA request denied in deaths of Colorado mom, kids

    Saturday, August 18 2018 8:33 PM EDT2018-08-19 00:33:15 GMT

    FREDERICK, Colo. (AP) - A Colorado judge has denied a request by a defense attorney for a man accused of killing his wife and two daughters to require a coroner to collect DNA from the necks of the young girls. KMGH-TV and the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder reported the judge said in an order he would not tell the medical examiner's office involved in the case how to do its job. 

    >>

    FREDERICK, Colo. (AP) - A Colorado judge has denied a request by a defense attorney for a man accused of killing his wife and two daughters to require a coroner to collect DNA from the necks of the young girls. KMGH-TV and the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder reported the judge said in an order he would not tell the medical examiner's office involved in the case how to do its job. 

    >>
  • Chick-Fil-A location coming soon to Gonzaga

    Chick-Fil-A location coming soon to Gonzaga

    Saturday, August 18 2018 7:46 PM EDT2018-08-18 23:46:58 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A beloved fast-food chain well known for its chicken sandwiches and waffle fries across the nation appears to be coming to Spokane. According to its website, Chick-Fil-A says a location is coming soon at Gonzaga University. The location is listed as 502 E Boone Ave, Spokane, WA 99258. The website says the location will be operated by Sodexo, a company that runs the Zag Dining service at Gonzaga. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A beloved fast-food chain well known for its chicken sandwiches and waffle fries across the nation appears to be coming to Spokane. According to its website, Chick-Fil-A says a location is coming soon at Gonzaga University. The location is listed as 502 E Boone Ave, Spokane, WA 99258. The website says the location will be operated by Sodexo, a company that runs the Zag Dining service at Gonzaga. 

    >>
  • Exposed handlebar grip kills 6-year-old Pullman boy in bicycle crash

    Exposed handlebar grip kills 6-year-old Pullman boy in bicycle crash

    Wednesday, August 15 2018 2:13 AM EDT2018-08-15 06:13:21 GMT

    PULLMAN, Wash. - Six-year-old Denny Curran should be enjoying his last few days of summer before first grade. He should be teasing his brother, splashing in the pool, giving his parents a hard time about vegetables. Instead, Denny is dead, the victim of a horrific, freak bicycle accident that could happen to your child too. "Denny was an extraordinary child," his father Keith Curran told KHQ.

    >>

    PULLMAN, Wash. - Six-year-old Denny Curran should be enjoying his last few days of summer before first grade. He should be teasing his brother, splashing in the pool, giving his parents a hard time about vegetables. Instead, Denny is dead, the victim of a horrific, freak bicycle accident that could happen to your child too. "Denny was an extraordinary child," his father Keith Curran told KHQ.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Defense DNA request denied in deaths of Colorado mom, kids

    Defense DNA request denied in deaths of Colorado mom, kids

    Saturday, August 18 2018 8:33 PM EDT2018-08-19 00:33:15 GMT

    FREDERICK, Colo. (AP) - A Colorado judge has denied a request by a defense attorney for a man accused of killing his wife and two daughters to require a coroner to collect DNA from the necks of the young girls. KMGH-TV and the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder reported the judge said in an order he would not tell the medical examiner's office involved in the case how to do its job. 

    >>

    FREDERICK, Colo. (AP) - A Colorado judge has denied a request by a defense attorney for a man accused of killing his wife and two daughters to require a coroner to collect DNA from the necks of the young girls. KMGH-TV and the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder reported the judge said in an order he would not tell the medical examiner's office involved in the case how to do its job. 

    >>
  • Police: Florida man, 88, burns raccoon over eating mangoes

    Police: Florida man, 88, burns raccoon over eating mangoes

    Saturday, August 18 2018 8:23 PM EDT2018-08-19 00:23:26 GMT

    PALM BAY, Fla. (AP) - An 88-year-old Florida man was arrested after police said he burned a trapped raccoon alive because the animal had eaten his mangoes. Ezra James told WKMG-TV in a story Saturday that he threw gasoline on the raccoon and lit a match. In addition to the mangoes, James says he was afraid the raccoon might give him rabies. James lives in the coastal town of Palm Bay, located about 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast of Orlando.   

    >>

    PALM BAY, Fla. (AP) - An 88-year-old Florida man was arrested after police said he burned a trapped raccoon alive because the animal had eaten his mangoes. Ezra James told WKMG-TV in a story Saturday that he threw gasoline on the raccoon and lit a match. In addition to the mangoes, James says he was afraid the raccoon might give him rabies. James lives in the coastal town of Palm Bay, located about 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast of Orlando.   

    >>
  • Migrant spouse of pregnant woman detained on way to hospital

    Migrant spouse of pregnant woman detained on way to hospital

    Saturday, August 18 2018 8:12 PM EDT2018-08-19 00:12:02 GMT

    LOS ANGELES (AP) - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says that the California man who was arrested by its agents as he drove his wife to the hospital so she could give birth had a warrant for his arrest in Mexico. In a statement, spokeswoman Lori Haley says Joel Arrona Lara "was brought to ICE's attention due to an outstanding warrant issued for his arrest in Mexico on homicide charges." Arrona remains in custody pending removal proceedings.

    >>

    LOS ANGELES (AP) - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says that the California man who was arrested by its agents as he drove his wife to the hospital so she could give birth had a warrant for his arrest in Mexico. In a statement, spokeswoman Lori Haley says Joel Arrona Lara "was brought to ICE's attention due to an outstanding warrant issued for his arrest in Mexico on homicide charges." Arrona remains in custody pending removal proceedings.

    >>