United Kingdom names two Russians for attempted murder of Skripals with nerve agent

United Kingdom names two Russians for attempted murder of Skripals with nerve agent

United Kingdom names two Russians for attempted murder of Skripals with nerve agent

The Salisbury attack has both resurrected memories of the Cold War and become a symbol of a new era of tensions between Moscow and the West that started in earnest in 2014 with Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Britain charged two Russians in absentia on Wednesday with the attempted murder of a former Russian spy and his daughter, and said the suspects were military intelligence officers nearly certainly acting on orders from high up in the Russian state.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed Tuesday that Rowley and Sturgess were also exposed to Novichok.

Britain has blamed Russian Federation for the poisonings and identified the poison as Novichok, a deadly group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet military in the 1970s and 1980s.

Two Russian nationals have been named as suspects in the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

The case, with its chilling cloak-and-dagger details, echoes the 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian agent who died after drinking tea laced with radioactive polonium-210 at a London hotel. Tests showed the bottle contained a "significant amount of Novichok", police said.

"We have full confidence in the British assessment that the two suspects were officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU, and that this operation was nearly certainly approved at a senior government level".

Russian newspaper Fontanka alleges Petrov previously travelled to London and was in the United Kingdom exactly one year before before the attack on the Skripals on March 4.

In an update to the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Theresa May pointed the finger of blame directly at the Russian government.

Skripal, a former colonel in Russian military intelligence who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain's MI6 foreign spy service, and his daughter Yulia, were found unconscious on a public bench in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.


"For us any sort of accusation regarding the Russian leadership is unacceptable", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

A RUSSIAN spy wanted for the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal reportedly had visited Britain nearly exactly one year before the Novichok attack in Salisbury.

The photos were among a cache of evidence when British authorities accused two Russian men, identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, of carrying out the attack.

Basu said he stood by Prime Minister Theresa May who said in March there was no other conclusion than that the Russian state was responsible.

He added: "I don't think anyone can ever say that Mr Putin isn't in control of his state".

Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in March by the nerve agent Novichok.

"The GRU is, without doubt, not rogue, it is led, linked to both the senior members of the Russian general staff and the defence minister and, through that, into the Kremlin and the president's office".

Britain will brief the UN Security Council later Thursday on its latest findings, with the meeting due to open around 11:30 am (1530 GMT).

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, though he said "we will never give up". 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 United States presidential election.

A woman near Salisbury, Dawn Sturgess, died in July and her partner Charlie Rowley fell ill after Rowley found a counterfeit bottle of Nina Ricci perfume in a charity collection box and brought it home.

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