Four nations backed Britain after it identified two Russians as suspects in a nerve agent attack.Britain, France, Germany, Canada and the US have pledged to work to disrupt “the hostile activities of foreign intelligence networks” and called on Russia to disclose its nerve agent programme.
In a joint statement, France, Germany, Canada and the US say they back Britain’s assessment that Russian officers were behind a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter using Novichok after London charged two Russians in absentia.
“We have full confidence in the British assessment that the two suspects were officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU, and that this operation was almost certainly approved at a senior government level,” Thursday’s statement said.
It added that the countries urged Russia to provide “full disclosure of its Novichok programme”.
“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.”
Earlier Britain’s security minister called out Russian President Vladimir Putin over the nerve agent attack targeting Sergei Skripal and his daughter, and also warned that the UK would counter Russian “malign activity” with both public and covert measures.
The Kremlin rejected accusations that Putin is ultimately responsible for poisoning the former spy in England, and said Russia is not going to investigate the suspects.
Skripal and his daughter Yulia were hospitalised for weeks in a critical condition after they were exposed to Novichok in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.
They are now recovering in a secret location for their own protection.
Local woman Dawn Sturgess died and her boyfriend Charlie Rowley was sickened after they came across remnants of the poison in a discarded perfume bottle in June.