Two Russian nationals identified as suspected Salisbury nerve agent attackers

Two Russian nationals identified as suspected Salisbury nerve agent attackers

Guests at a hotel where the two men charged with attempting to assassinate Sergei and Yulia Skripal stayed have been informed that the deadly nerve agent Novichok was found there in a bedroom.

The British government accused Russian Federation of carrying out the attack with the nerve agent Novichok, but Moscow has strongly denied any involvement.

Although Mrs May did not explicitly blame the Kremlin for authorising the attempted assassination, senior Conservatives directly accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of approving the operation.

The revelations came as British prosecutors said they had "sufficient evidence" to charge two Russian nationals in connection with the nerve agent attack on March 4 on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal.

He said both men were approximately 40 years old and that they were travelling on Russian passports.

Instead, prosecutors said they had taken out a European Arrest Warrant, meaning if the alleged perpetrators travel to any E.U. member state they could be arrested and extradited to the United Kingdom.

Skripal, a former Russian spy, and his daughter Yulia were found last June slumped on a bench in Salisbury but both survived the attack after being critically ill for several months.

Authorities later determined that they had been poisoned by Novichok, a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Ms Sturgess died in hospital on 9 July.

Police released a series of images of the men as they travelled through London and Salisbury between March 2 and March 4.

Assistant police commissioner Neil Basu would not say whether police believe the suspects worked for Russian security services but, he said, "This was a sophisticated attack across borders". Hours after their final visit, they took a late-night flight back to Moscow on March 4.




The intelligence expert added the odds of the two men being extradited out of Russian Federation are none. Police say the nerve agent was smuggled into the country in a perfume bottle.

They were however charged with the use and possession of the nerve agent novichok, banned under the Chemical Weapons Act and also charged with the conspiracy to murder the Skripals as well as the causing of grievous bodily harm with intent.

Russian Federation denied knowledge of the two men.

But Mr Basu confirmed that the two cases were related, saying: "We have now linked the attack on the Skripals and the events in Amesbury which affected Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley".

British police said Wednesday the case is now part of the Skripal investigation. Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said that the identities of the suspects "say nothing to us". As a result, Basu said, police weren't yet ready to lay charges in the second poisoning, though the two Russians are the prime suspects.

British prosecutors named the two suspects as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

The U.S. last month imposed sanctions on Russian Federation, including on electronics, lasers and some oil and gas production technologies, after concluding it was behind the attack on the Skripals.

Officials determined that the same substance, found in a perfume bottle in a park weeks later, sickened a man and his girlfriend, who later died.

He said police continue to liaise with the CPS regarding the poisoning of Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley.

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