Boris Johnson has called for Britain’s allies to support its stand against Russia as the UK braced for retaliation for expelling Kremlin diplomats en masse.
The Foreign Secretary said “all responsible nations” shared an obligation to take on Russian aggression that “threatens the very architecture of global security”.
Writing in the Washington Post, Mr Johnson also said the poison used in the Salisbury spy attack was specifically chosen to send a message to political dissenters challenging Russian president Vladimir Putin.
“All responsible nations share an obligation to take a principled stance against this behaviour,” he said.
“The countermeasures announced by the Prime Minister are not solely about the attack in Salisbury.
“Britain is striving to uphold the rules on which the safety of every country depends. I hope and believe that our friends will stand alongside us.”
Mr Johnson said the Salisbury incident showed the Kremlin is “clearly willing to act without restraint” and fitted a pattern of “reckless behaviour” by Mr Putin.
Meanwhile he said the use of the Novichok nerve agent, a rare chemical weapon developed by the Soviet Union, had been picked because it sent a signal in its “blatant Russian-ness”.
Mr Johnson said that only Russia had the means and motive for carrying out the assassination attempt on Sergei Skripal that left the spy, his daughter Yulia and police officer Nick Bailey in hospital.
He said: “There is a reason for choosing Novichok. In its blatant Russian-ness, the nerve agent sends a signal to all who may be thinking of dissent in the intensifying repression of Putin’s Russia.
“The message is clear: We will find you, we will catch you, we will kill you — and though we will deny it with lip-curling scorn, the world will know beyond doubt that Russia did it.”