“We think it overwhelmingly likely that it was his [Putin’s] decision to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the UK, on the streets of Europe, for the first time since the second world war. That is why we are at odds with Russia,” Johnson said.
Donald Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker have broken ranks with western disapproval for Vladimir Putin, issuing their congratulations to the Russian leader for his electoral success even as diplomats were flown out of the UK in retribution for the Salisbury nerve agent attack.
The leader of the Conservative party in the European parliament, Ashley Fox, described a letter from Juncker, president of the European commission, as “disgraceful”, while Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s representative in Brexit talks, tweeted: “This is no time for congratulations.”
In the US, Senator John McCain led the criticism of Trump’s choice of words by calling it an “insult to every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election”. He added: “An American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections.”