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EU Leaders To Seek Better Communication On Threats After Nerve-Agent Attack


European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (file photo)

BRUSSELS -- EU leaders are set to ask foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to look into ways to improve the 28-member bloc's strategic communication, counterintelligence, and cyberdefense in the wake of the nerve-agent attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in England earlier this month.

The bloc's leaders agree that "the European Union must strengthen its resilience to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear-related risks, including through closer cooperation between the European Union and its member states as well as NATO," according to draft conclusions seen by RFE/RL ahead of an summit in Brussels on March 22-23.

"The European Union should also continue to bolster its capabilities to address hybrid threats, including in the areas of cyberdefense, strategic communication and counterintelligence," says the draft, which summons Mogherini to report on progress on the issues by the following summit in June.

Although the draft does not put direct blame on Moscow for the March 4 nerve-agent attack on Skripal and his daughter, it does say that "it takes extremely seriously the United Kingdom government's assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible."

The document says that "member states will coordinate on the consequences to be drawn in light of the answers provided by the Russian authorities. The European Union will remain closely focused on this issue and its implications."

Based on reporting by Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels
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