Minister takes aim at Putin
London: Britain is escalating the crisis in relations with Russia over the poisoning of a former Soviet spy with the UK's security minister going much further than the Prime Minister Theresa May in holding President Vladimir Putin personally responsible for the attack.
In her Commons statement on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, 67, had been authorised at a "senior level" by the Russian state.
But her security minister, Ben Wallace, told the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme that Putin bore ultimate responsibility for the attempted assassination of Skripal on March 4.
"Ultimately he does insofar as he is President of the Russian Federation and it is his government that controls, funds and directs the military intelligence that's the GRU via his minister of defence," Wallace said.
Before he defected to the west, Skripal had worked for the GRU, Russia's military intelligence service. He is now in a safe house, along with his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia Skripal.
In her Commons statement, May said two men from the GRU had come to Britain from Moscow and returned home immediately after their murder mission in Salisbury.
Wallace said: "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."