LONDON — The U.S., Germany, France, Canada and the U.K. issued a joint statement expressing “outrage” at the Novichok poisonings in Salisbury, England and again accusing Russia of being responsible.
In a joint statement, the countries’ leaders said they share the U.K.’s assessment that the two suspects, named Wednesday by Prime Minister Theresa May, were officers of the Russian military intelligence service, the GRU, and that the operation was “almost certainly approved at a senior government level.”
The statement — which echoes one issued by France, Germany, the U.S. and U.K. in March — came as the United Nations Security Council met in New York to discuss the nerve agent poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in March.
Despite accusing Russia and urging the Kremlin to make “full disclosure” of its Novichok nerve agent program to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the statement does not signal any further action to be taken in retaliation.
“We have already taken action together to disrupt the activities of the GRU [Russia’s military intelligence directorate] through the largest ever collective expulsion of undeclared intelligence officers,” the statement reads. “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.”
May told the House of Commons Wednesday that the two suspects entered the U.K. with Russian passports under the names, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, believed to be aliases.
The joint statement also endorses the U.K.’s analysis that the “exact same chemical agent” used in the Skripal attack poisoned British citizens Dawn Sturgess, who died as a result, and Charlie Rowley in Amesbury in June.