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Aust watching Russian nerve agent inquiry

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March 14, 2018

Julie Bishop says Australia may increase sanctions on Russia over a nerve gas attack in Britain.

Australia will consider upgrading sanctions on Russia once the United Kingdom completes its investigation into a nerve agent attack carried out on British soil.

The UK has pushed for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council after the attempted assassination of Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury earlier this month.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has spoken to her UK counterpart Boris Johnson about the issue.

"This attack is the use of chemical weapons in a civilian environment and Australia condemns, absolutely, any use of chemical weapons by anyone anywhere," she told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

"We already have sanctions on Russia. We will consider any further response once the investigation has been concluded."

Australia will also express its condemnation at a meeting of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at The Hague this week.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed a military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia was used in the attack.

Russia has until Wednesday morning to provide a credible response or face retaliatory measures.

Skripal and his daughter have been in hospital in a critical condition since they were found unconscious on a park bench on March 4.

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