Russian nationals identified as suspects over Salisbury nerve agent attack on Skripals

Russian nationals identified as suspects over Salisbury nerve agent attack on Skripals

Russian nationals identified as suspects over Salisbury nerve agent attack on Skripals

Former GRU officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were left critically ill after being exposed to the military grade nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury in March.

On 30 June 2018 a similar poisoning of two British nationals in Amesbury, seven miles from Salisbury, involved the same nerve agent.

The case against Petrov and Boshirov also involves evidence from Britain's military Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory, and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. They flew out on March 4, hours after the Skripals were found unconscious.

"We have no evidence that they re-entered the United Kingdom after that date", Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said.

The service is one of the main Russian intelligence agencies born after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Rowley gave it to his girlfriend, Dawn Sturgess, who later died.

Mr Basu said: "We do not believe Dawn and Charlie were deliberately targeted, but became victims as a result of the recklessness in which such a toxic nerve agent was disposed of". Police said Novichok was applied to the front door of the Skripal's home.

Police say the men, both about 40, flew from Moscow to London two days before the Skripals were poisoned on March 4.

Mr Rowley was discharged from hospital on 20 July.

The two men were identified as being part of the GRU.

Police said the nerve agent was concealed in a perfume bottle, which they called the "perfect delivery method" for smuggling a banned chemical across borders.

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Police said CCTV shows the two suspects in the vicinity of the property on that date.

Despite the meticulous and painstaking searches, and although unlikely, it is impossible to guarantee that there are no other materials present in the Salisbury area.

"Prosecutors from CPS Counter Terrorism Division have considered the evidence and have concluded there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and it is clearly in the public interest to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. with conspiracy to murder Sergei Skripal and the attempted murder of Skripal, his daughter Yulia, and police officer Nick Bailey", a CPS statement said.

The UK was not asking Moscow to extradite the men because Russian law forbids the extradition of its citizens, CPS Director of Legal Services Sue Hemming said in a statement on Wednesday.

Russian Federation is expected to refuse to extradite the duo to face attempted murder charges in Britain - claiming it has nothing to do with the attack.

"So, as we found following the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, any formal extradition request in this case would be futile".

Domestic and European arrests warrant have been issued for the two suspects - but the Met Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said the two men are likely operating under aliases.

The Russians travelled from Gatwick to London Victoria railway station and from there used the London transport network to cross the Thames to Waterloo station on the Southbank. The GRU was named in an 11-count indictment as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

British prosecutors have charged two Russian men with the nerve agent poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury. They spent two nights in an east London hotel, making two day trips to Salisbury, the first for reconnaissance, the second to kill Skripal.

On Wednesday Russian officials dismissed May's comments apportioning blame for the Skripal attack to the military spy agency.

The officer continues to make good progress but remains off work, Scotland Yard said.

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