The investigation found traces of two Russian intelligence officers behind the attacks
On September 7, 2018, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs negatively reacted to a joint statement on the Salisbury attack issued a day earlier by the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
In the Ministry’s comment, published on their website, Russia repeatedly proclaims all the existing charges groundless due to “a lack of any evidence of what really happened with a use of toxic agents in Great Britain.” According to the Russian side, the UK has rejected Russia’s efforts to establish cooperation to proceed with the investigation of the Salisbury and Amesbury attacks. The British side also bans Russian attempts to get access to Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, who were poisoned with the Soviet nerve agent Novichok in the UK city of Salisbury on March 4, 2018. Based on this position of London, Russia’s Ministry states that all the accusations against the country have been fabricated, pursuing the goal of “creating an enemy out of Russia.” The comment concludes with an appeal to act in the opposite way, i.e. “to collaborate in fighting against universal threats and, first of all, international terrorism.”
In turn, the joint statement by the leaders of France, Germany, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom on the Salisbury attack came out on September 6, 2018. In this statement four countries back the UK progress made in the investigation into the Novichok usage in Salisbury, as well as the further poisoning of Dawn Sturgess and Charles Rowley with the same nerve agent in Amesbury. On September 5, 2018, the British authorities announced that two Russian nationals, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, had been charged in absentia over the Salisbury attack after a lengthy investigation. The statement expresses “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.” As a result, Russia is urged “to provide full disclosure of its Novichok programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons” which confirmed the use of this nerve agent in both attacks in the UK. Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States also re-state their intention to combat “foreign intelligence networks on [their] territories” as a preventive measure.