Washington: The leaders of France, Germany, Unites States of America (USA) and Canada expressed “full confidence” in United Kingdom’s assessment that the two suspects in the Novichok attack of March 4 were officers from the Russian military intelligence service.
In a joint statement, the four countries, and the UK reiterated their outrage at the use of a chemical nerve agent, Novichok, in Salisbury on March 4, which attempted to kill former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.
“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,” the statement read.
The leaders of the five countries said that they have already taken joint action to disrupt the activities of the GRU, “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,” said the statement.
They also urged Russia to provide full disclosure of its Novichok programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
On September 6, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, while addressing a parliament session, said that only Russia had the motive to carry out the attack. She added that Moscow even had the technical means and operational experience to carry out such attacks.
Sergei and Yulia were found slumped on a bench at Salisbury Park following which they were admitted to Salisbury District Hospital.
In the wake of this incident, the UK, along with 25 other Western countries, expelled Russian diplomats as a symbol of solidarity.