Friday 28 June 2019 1:39 pm

Theresa May tells Vladmir Putin there can be no repeat of Salisbury attack in face-to-face meeting

Theresa May has told Russian President Vladmir Putin that there can be no repeat of the “truly despicable act that led to the death of British citizen, Dawn Sturgess”.

During a meeting that lasted one hour and 20 minutes, May condemned the Salisbury attack, which she said the UK had “irrefutable evidence that Russia was behind”.

Read more: May demands Salisbury poisoining subjects are “brought to justice”

A senior British official said May raised the case during the first 40 minutes, while they were alone with only interpreters, for a meeting which was “serious in tone”.

“It was very worthwhile to be able to deliver some very serious messages face to face,” the official said.

May told Putin that “the use of a deadly nerve agent on the streets of Salisbury formed part of a wider pattern of unacceptable behaviour and was a truly despicable act that led to the death of a British citizen, Dawn Sturgess”, Downing Street has said.

“She was clear that the UK has irrefutable evidence that Russia was behind the attack – based on painstaking investigations and co-operation with our allies.

“She said that this behaviour could never be repeated and that the UK wants to see the two individuals responsible brought to justice.”

Despite the tensions, May remained open to the idea of improving the relationship between the two countries.

“The Prime Minister underlined that we remain open to different relationship, but for that to happen the Russian government must choose a different path,” the Downing Street statement said.

Read more: Trump jokes to Putin: “Don’t meddle in the election, please”

She also responded to Putin’s comments in an interview with the Financial Times, in which he said liberalism had “become obsolete”.

Adding: “The Prime Minister said the UK would continue to unequivocally defend liberal democracy and protect the human rights and equality of all groups, including LGBT people.”