Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia

The leaders of Britain, the United States, France, Germany, and Canada said that the Novichok attack suspects were officers from Russia’s military intelligence service.

In a joint statement on Thursday, reiterating their “outrage”, the five leaders also said they were completely confident the attempted killing of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal on British soil in March “was almost certainly approved at a senior government level” in Russia.

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They also urged Moscow to come clean to the organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) about its Novichok programme.

The leaders added they would strengthen their activities to defend their societies against “malign state activity” and disrupt the hostile actions of foreign intelligence networks.

“We, the leaders of France, Germany, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, reiterate our outrage at the use of a chemical nerve agent, known as Novichok, in Salisbury on March 4,” they said in the statement, issued in London.