Published: Thu, September 06, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Two Russians charged over ex-spy's nerve agent poisoning

Two Russians charged over ex-spy's nerve agent poisoning

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday that the two suspects behind the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia work for Russia's military intelligence.

The Russians are charged with conspiracy to murder Sergei Skripal and the attempted murder of Skripal, his daughter and Nick Bailey, a police officer who was taken ill while attending to the Skripals.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, speaking Thursday in parliament after the police announced the charges, said it was "not a rogue operation", and that based on the evidence gathered, United Kingdom authorities believe the two suspects are operatives of the Russian military intelligence service known as the GRU.

"The GRU is a highly disciplined organisation with a well established chain of command, so this was not a rogue operation". May said. "It was nearly certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state".

For two GRU agents, they don't appear to have been very discreet.

On July 4, police reveal that two people are in a critical condition after being found unconscious days earlier in the village of Amesbury, around 12 kilometres (eight miles) from Salisbury.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has called Sergei Skripal, who spied for Russia and then Britain, a traitor for selling state secrets.

Police officers guard a cordon around a police tent covering the the spot where former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found critically ill following exposure to an "unknown substance" in Salisbury, England, March 7, 2018.

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

Both of the Skripals survived, but in what police call a tragic effect of the attack, Dawn Sturgess, a 44-year-old mother of three, died on July 8 after being exposed to the same nerve agent. But 44-year old British woman Dawn Sturgess, who later came into contact with the same military grade agent, died.

Police revealed further details of how they believed Petrov and Boshirov managed to sneak Novichok, which is banned under worldwide chemical weapons laws, into the country. It had been held in a pink box, falsely labeled as Nina Ricci Premier Jour perfume. The result, he said, was "a flawless cover for smuggling the weapon into the country, and a ideal delivery method for the attack against the Skripal's front door".

Police released an image of a perfume bottle recovered from Mr Rowley's home which is thought to have contained Novichok.

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But assistant commissioner Neil Basu, head of counterterrorism at London's Metropolitan Police, conceded it was "very, very unlikely" police would be in a position to arrest them any time soon. Zakharova also said Moscow had asked the British embassy to let it examine fingerprint records that Russian nationals have to provide to obtain a British visa.

Hemming said Britain would not apply to Russian Federation to extradite the men because the Russia's constitution does not allow the extradition of its own nationals.

On Sunday, 4 March, they made the same journey from the hotel, again using the underground from Bow to Waterloo station at approximately 8.05am, before continuing their journey by train to Salisbury.

Inside the box was a bottle and applicator, and police said Mr Rowley attempted to assemble the two parts together at his home address in Amesbury on Saturday June 30.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called the charges "informational manipulation" and said the naming and release of photos of the two suspects "tell us nothing". She said her government would "push for new European Union sanctions" against Russian Federation over the attack.

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