The EU leaders meeting in Brussels discussed the attack and made a decision to support Britain's assessment that Russian Federation was responsible for it, although initially some leaders anxious about the attribution of guilt.
Retired military intelligence officer Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, 33, were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury city centre on March 4. The two had been poisoned with a nerve agent called Novichok, developed by Kremlin scientists several decades ago. They were hospitalized and are now in a coma. He's been living in the United Kingdom ever since.
The UK attack, which targeted Skripal at a busy shopping center, was the first offensive use of nerve agent in Europe since World War II. At least 50 were treated in a hospital.
The British Prime Minister Theresa May, the French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also met on the sidelines of the meeting and agreed that a strong message to Russian Federation was needed.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in turn this unfriendly step would not go unanswered. Around the same time, President Trump announced that he would do the same. Besides, about 20 countries said they could expel Russian diplomats including Czechia and Poland. "Russia can not break global rules with impunity".
"There is no doubt that the actions Russians had taken in England has caused worldwide outrage and that Australia along with many of its allies is taking commensurate responses to it", Mr Shorten told reporters in Canberra. He also ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle.
Experts say Russian Twitter trolls are working overtime to amplify this message, alleging that potentially fake accounts linked to a bot factory in St. Petersburg have been sharing social media posts that cast doubt on the British investigation. "The Council agrees with the UK Government's assessment that it is very likely that the Russian Federation is responsible and that there is no other plausible explanation", adds the statement.