UK

Defence Secretary Praises Salisbury's 'Amazing Job' After Nerve Agent Attack

Penny Mordaunt was speaking as she visited the city for the Armed Forces Day national event.

The Defence Secretary has praised Salisbury for its response to a nerve agent attack last year.

Penny Mordaunt was visiting the city as it hosted the Armed Forces Day 2019 national event.

On Friday, the Prime Minister condemned the Salisbury Novichok incident as a "truly despicable act" when she met Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The UK believes Russia's GRU military intelligence agency was behind the attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Mr Skripal and his daughter both survived but a British woman later died after coming into contact with a Novichok-contaminated perfume bottle.

Scotland Yard and the CPS believe there is sufficient evidence to charge two Russians - who go by the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov - with offences including conspiracy to murder over the attack on the Skripals.

More than 120 British military personnel helped with the decontamination of the city following the Novichok incident, including assisting with the cleanup of Salisbury and removing the roof of Sergei Skripal's home.

Salisbury Armed Forces Day parade
More than 1,000 personnel, cadets and veterans marched through Salisbury on Armed Forces Day (Picture: MOD.

"Salisbury has always had an amazing connection to our armed forces," Ms Mordaunt told Forces News.

"I remember visiting Salisbury just a couple of weeks after the [nerve agent attack] last year, and it's done an amazing job as a city - it's really pulled together, all of the services and agencies here, providing that reassurance.

"The public coming in at these events, it gives them their chance to say 'thank you' to our armed forces who stepped in, provided that reassurance, clearly did some really difficult jobs over those weeks and months - it's their chance to say thank you to those people."

After watching more than 1,000 personnel, cadets and veterans parade though Salisbury, Ms Mordaunt met service members in the Armed Forces Day military village.

"It has been incredible," she said.

"Huge numbers of people lining the streets and giving them an amazing response.

"I think the city's done a fantastic job."