Russia has been urged to provide full disclosure of its Novichok programme in a joint statement from Britain, the United States, Canada, Germany and France.

The joint statement says the five nations have full confidence in a British assessment that those responsible for an attack on a former Russian spy in southwestern England earlier this year were Russian intelligence agents.

A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May said the statement strengthens the intent of the western nations to work together to disrupt the hostile actions of foreign intelligence services.

The statement adds that the five nations remain convinced the Salisbury operation was almost certainly approved at a senior level.

Earlier, British Security Minister Ben Wallace said Russian President Vladimir Putin had "ultimate" responsibility for the nerve agent attack.

Two members of Russian military intelligence have been accused of using Novichok to try to kill former Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the city of Salisbury.

They were both found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping centre in Salisbury on 4 March.

The men have been named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

Alexander Petrov (L) and Ruslan Boshirov left the UK on 4 March (Pic: Met Police)

Asked if Mr Putin had responsibility, Mr Wallace said: "Ultimately he does in so far as he is the president of the Russian Federation and it is his government that controls, funds and directs the military intelligence, the GRU, via his ministry of defence.

"I don't think anyone can ever say that Mr Putin isn't in control of his state ... And the GRU is without doubt not rogue.

"It is led, linked to both the senior members of the Russian general staff and the defence minister, and through that into the Kremlin and the president's office."


Salisbury poisoning saga: How it unfolded


Britain has previously pointed the finger at Moscow for the March attack, sparking furious denials.

In the aftermath, Britain and its allies expelled dozens of Russian diplomats, prompting Russian to respond in kind. The United States also imposed fresh sanctions over the attack.

The Skripals survived the poisoning but remnants of Novichok found in a fake perfume bottle were picked up by a local man weeks later and given to his girlfriend, Dawn Sturgess, who later died.

British prosecutors said yesterday they had enough evidence to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov with conspiracy to murder Skripal, attempted murder and the use of a banned chemical weapon.

They said they would not formally demand their extradition, as Russia does not extradite its citizens, but have obtained a European Arrest Warrant for the pair.

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The incident was discussed at the UN Security Council in New York this afternoon, where the UK ambassador outlined the evidence.

However, Russia accused Britain of using the Salisbury incident to "unleash a disgusting anti-Russian hysteria".

The federation's permanent representative, Vasily Nebenzya, said the UK's update to the UN was made up of the "same repeated lies" as previous statements about the spy poisoning.

"I'm not going to go through the list of this whole unfounded and mendacious cocktail of facts," he said.

"London needs this story for just one purpose - to unleash a disgusting anti-Russian hysteria and to involve other countries in this hysteria."

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