May blasts Putin at UN: Prime Minister delivers fiery speech in front of Russian minister, openly accusing Moscow of 'reckless use of chemical weapons in Britain' and calling on leaders to stand up to 'corrupt oligarchies'
- She used UN Security Council meeting on chemical weapons to attack Russia
- Mrs May said UK presented 'evidence against two agents of the Russian state'
- She blasted Russia saying it sought to 'obfuscate through desperate fabrication'
With the country's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov sitting only metres away, the Prime Minister used a UN Security Council meeting on chemical weapons to point the finger of blame of Russia for the 'reckless' nerve agent attack.
As details of one of the suspects' true identity emerged, Mrs May said the UK had presented 'detailed evidence against two agents of the Russian state'.
She added: 'Russia has only sought to obfuscate through desperate fabrication.'
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Theresa May launched a furious attack on Vladimir Putin over the Salisbury poisonings in an address to world leaders in New York
Mrs May also used her address to indicate Britain would bomb Syria again if chemical weapons were used against its people.
In April last year Britain, the US and France bombed military bases near the capital Damascus and the city of Homs, following a chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma.
Praising President Donald Trump, who chaired the meeting, and President Macron for their 'determination' she said the decision 'sent a clear message to the Assad regime: perpetrators of chemical weapons use cannot escape identification'.
She added: 'The regime's backers must use their influence to ensure chemical weapons are not used again. For there must be no doubt: we will respond swiftly and appropriately if they are.'
Mrs May used a UN Security Council meeting on chemical weapons to attack Russia for the 'reckless' nerve agent attack with the country's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov (pictured) sitting only metres away
Later, in a major speech to the UN General Assembly, the PM turned her fire on Russia again, attacking authoritarian countries which 'crush the basic freedoms and rights of their citizens' and rounded on 'corrupt oligarchies' and 'aggressive nationalism'.
'We have seen what happens when the natural patriotism which is a cornerstone of a healthy society is warped into aggressive nationalism, exploiting fear and uncertainty to promote identity politics at home and belligerent confrontation abroad, while breaking rules and undermining institutions.
'And we see this when states like Russia flagrantly breach international norms – from the seizing of sovereign territory to the reckless use of chemical weapons on the streets of Britain by agents of the GRU.'
In a 20-minute speech to the UN General Assembly, the PM turned her fire on Russia again
Mrs May attacked authoritarian countries which 'crush the basic freedoms and rights of their citizens'. Pictured, Vladimir Putin
In a 20-minute address, the PM urged Western leaders to be prepared to act around the world or risk allowing the rise of the 'extreme Left and extreme Right'.
Warning of a 'loss of confidence' in free market and democratic countries, she said they must have the 'will and confidence to act when the fundamental rules that we live by are broken'.
She was careful to make clear she was not endorsing 'regime change'.
But in signalling a more interventionist foreign policy, she said: 'This is not about repeating the mistakes of the past by trying to impose democracy on other countries.
STORY THAT ATTRACTED RIDICULE FROM THE START
Almost as soon as the jaw- dropping claim was made, ridicule followed when the Salisbury assassins tried to pass themselves off as innocent tourists on a sightseeing weekend.
Eight days after their mugshots were plastered around the world, the pair claimed they had travelled to the UK to see attractions including Salisbury Cathedral's magnificent '123-metre spire'.
Paraded on the Kremlin-funded broadcaster Russia Today, the pair insisted they were 'Alexander Petrov' and 'Ruslan Boshirov', the aliases Scotland Yard said they had used to enter Britain.
They added that the timing of the trip and the falling ill of a former double agent, was a 'fantastical coincidence'.
Ridicule followed when the Salisbury assassins tried to pass themselves off as innocent tourists on a sightseeing weekend. Pictured, Ruslan Boshirov
It came after Russian president Vladimir Putin had already claimed the pair were 'civilians' in a PR offensive after details of their mission had been revealed by the Metropolitan Police.
To press the point, Petrov and Boshirov then appeared in a stage-managed interview that drew a furious response from Theresa May, who accused the Kremlin of peddling 'lies and blatant fabrication'.
The Prime Minister, who had earlier told the Commons the men were members of Russia's feared GRU, said Russia's denials 'insulted the public's intelligence'.
In the 25-minute recording, during which they drank cognac to 'settle their nerves', the pair claimed that their lives had been 'turned upside down' since being named as suspects.
Their comments drew global condemnation, with the pair failing to explain why traces of novichok were found in the east London hotel room they used before travelling to the Skripals' home.
Body language experts said the pair appeared to be reciting 'guide book monologues' about Salisbury. The men claim to have their own images of their visit but these have yet to be released. Pictures backing up their claims to have visited a park and drank coffee have also failed to emerge.
'But we should not allow those mistakes to prevent us from protecting people in the face of the worst violations of human rights and human dignity.'
Mrs May told the Security Council there was 'no greater threat to international peace and security than the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.'
She said Russian vetoes at the UN had stopped the Security Council from 'holding the Assad regime to account'.
'It is my sincere hope that Russia will rejoin the international consensus against the use of chemical weapons.'
Mrs May said there had been a 'loss of confidence' in capitalism and liberal democracy as a result of the financial crash, mass migration and technological change.
She said the war in Iraq and other 'military interventionism' led to questions about using force overseas.
But she warned: 'Be in no doubt, if we lack the confidence to step up, others will.'
Theresa May hails prospect of a major Brexit trade deal with the US
Theresa May hailed the prospect of a major trade deal with the US after Brexit, saying it was 'in both our interests.'
The Prime Minister met President Donald Trump for the first time since his visit to the UK in July on the fringes of the UN Security Council on Wednesday night.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mrs May insisted a US/UK trade deal was still on the cards.
She said: 'In relation to a trade deal in the future I would say President Trump and America want to do a good trade deal with us. It is in both our interests to do that trade deal.'
She added: 'I believe that when we have negotiated that deal it will be put in place. That is what coming to an agreement is about – both sides agree and both sides do it.'
Asked why she would trust the President's promises, she said he stood behind the UK on Nato and by expelling Russian diplomats after the Salisbury poisonings.
Trump praised Mrs May as hard working and said he had enjoyed getting to know her.
This summer, his visit to the UK got off to a terrible start when he criticised her approach to Brexit and warned it could scupper a deal with the US.
But afterwards he declared the relationship between the two countries to be at 'the highest level of special'.
He also dangled the prospect of a post-Brexit trade deal that could 'quadruple' the UK's £100billion annual trade with the US.
The administration has made no secret of the fact it wants the UK to make a 'clean break' with the EU.
The Prime Minister's Chequers plan would keep Britain tied to EU regulations on goods and food.
Her Eurosceptic critics, who want a looser relationship with the EU, say it will severely curtail, if not scupper, any US deal.
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