World leaders back Britain in pointing finger at Vladimir Putin for Salisbury chemical weapons attack
World leaders have backed the UK's assessment that Russian intelligence officers carried out the chemical weapons attack on Salisbury - and stated that Vladimir Putin "almost certainly" ordered it.
In a joint-statement, the USA, France, Germany, Canada and Britain re-iterated their "outrage" at the attempted murder of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the Wiltshire town last March.
Police yesterday said there was enough evidence to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov - who travelled to Britain that month on forged Russian documents - with the crime.
Theresa May then told MPs that the men were officers in the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU.
In their statement, the leaders of all five nations said: "We have full confidence ... that this operation was almost certainly approved at a senior government level.
"We have already taken action together to disrupt the activities of the GRU through the largest ever collective expulsion of undeclared intelligence officers.
"Yesterday’s announcement further strengthens our intent to continue to disrupt together the hostile activities of foreign intelligence networks on our territories, uphold the prohibition of chemical weapons, protect our citizens and defend ourselves from all forms of malign state activity directed against us and our societies."
At a meeting of the United Nations in New York to discuss the latest developments in the saga, British ambassador Karen Pierce said Russia had "played dice with the lives of the people of Salisbury".
But Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzya accused the UK of presenting "unfounded and mendacious facts" to bolster their claims that his country was responsible for the Salisbury attack.