Theresa May arrived at Osaka today for the G20 summit
Theresa May will today tell Vladimir Putin to hand over the two agents who carried out the Salisbury chemical attack.
The Prime Minister will demand the men be ‘brought to justice’ when she holds talks with the Russian president on the fringes of the G20 in Osaka, Japan. It will be the first formal meeting between the two leaders in nearly three years – amid signs the Kremlin wants to end its isolation.
Relations were put in the deep freeze following the attempted assassination of Sergei and Yulia Skripal last year with the nerve agent novichok which left one innocent Briton dead.
After the attack, Mrs May led international efforts to expel more than 150 Russian diplomats from 20 countries. Last night she insisted Britain’s position towards Russia ‘has not changed’ and she would make it ‘absolutely clear’ to Mr Putin that the two agents should be handed over.
But she opened the door to a ‘different relationship’ between Britain and Russia if Mr Putin changes his ways.
Speaking to reporters on the flight to Osaka, she said she would give Mr Putin a ‘very clear message, leader to leader’.
Theresa May, pictured arriving in Osaka this morning, will today tell Vladimir Putin to hand over the two agents who carried out the Salisbury chemical attack
Mrs May will hold meetings with several world leaders during her final G20 meeting as UK PM
She added: ‘We have no argument with the Russian people. Our position in relation to Russia, in relation to what happened on the streets of Salisbury, is well known and it has not changed. We are open to a different relationship with Russia but if that is going to happen, Russia needs to stop its activities that undermine international treaties and undermines our collective security.’
Asked about the prospect of extraditing Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who have both been accused of attempted murder over the attacks, she said: ‘We believe we have identified the evidence and identified two individuals, we believe they should be brought to justice.
Vladimir Putin, seen today in Japan, will meet Theresa May later during the G20 summit
Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were attacked with nerve agent novichok in Salisbury
‘There are European arrest warrants out for these individuals and if they step foot outside Russia, we will be making every effort to ensure they are brought to justice.’
Mrs May said walking holidays in the Swiss Alps had convinced her of the need to combat climate change.
She and husband Philip had witnessed the Gorner Glacier retreating ‘quickly’ over the past decade and it prompted her to act, she added.
Mrs May is expected to press other leading nations at the G20 summit to match the UK’s cuts to emissions.