Vladimir Putin

Britain said on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “ultimate” responsibility for a nerve agent attack on a former Russian double agent in England, as it prepared to brief the UN Security Council.

London has accused two members of Russian military intelligence of using Novichok to try to kill former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the southwestern city of Salisbury.

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Security Minister Ben Wallace said Putin bore ultimate responsibility for the poisoning.

He told BBC radio: “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 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.”

Moscow on Wednesday again denied involvement in the case, accusing Britain of “unfounded accusations”.