Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Two Russian Nationals Named in Poisoning of Ex-Spy, Daughter

Two Russian Nationals Named in Poisoning of Ex-Spy, Daughter

British officials said Wednesday they 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 - though they held out little hope of being able to bring the suspects to justice.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a global watchdog, on Tuesday confirmed that Novichok was involved in their poisoning.

Investigators determined they were sickened by a Soviet-designed nerve agent called Novichok.

Police and prosecutors said there is sufficient evidence to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov with conspiring to murder Sergei Skripal and attempting to murder the ex-Russian spy, his daughter Yulia and Wiltshire Police Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey.

A photo of the fake perfume box that was used to contain the nerve agent that poisoned Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess in Amesbury this July.

Novichok was found in a counterfeit perfume bottle that police found in Mr Rowley's house.

The prime minister did, however, reveal the two suspects who flew into Britain with the novichok were officers in the GRU, Russian military intelligence, as police laid out a compelling trail showing how the suspects travelled from Moscow to London and then on to Salisbury, featuring numerous CCTV images and supporting detail.

He said: "As in the killing of former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, Russian officers - this time working for Russian military intelligence, the GRU - flew into Britain on an Aeroflot flight under aliases days before the attack".

"Yesterday's announcement further strengthens our intent to continue to disrupt together the hostile activities of foreign intelligence networks on our territories", they added.

The two men alleged to have been behind the March nerve agent poisoning - Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov - have been identified by the United Kingdom as members of the GRU, Russia's military intelligence service.

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"Ultimately of course he is responsible, he is leader of the state", he said.

Mr Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the accusations were unacceptable and claimed that "neither the Russian leadership nor its representatives have anything to do with the events in Salisbury".

Russian Federation has consistently offered their assistance to the British government since the chemical attack took place in March this year - maintaining they had no involvement in the Salisbury attack.

The incident literally mocked Theresa May's power and thus its reflex action triggered the dismissal of 23 suspected Russian agents in the UK.

Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said that the identities of the suspects "say nothing to us". "It was nearly certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state", she said in the House of Commons. This is the same Russian military intelligence agency that Sergei Skripal had worked for when he was funneling information to MI6.

He said Mr Putin had a strong grip over his state, which "controls, funds and directs" the GRU.

He added: "The GRU is without doubt not rogue".

A composite image showing a fake perfume box and bottle that contained the nerve agent meant to poison former spy Sergei Skripal. It is led, linked to both the senior members of the Russian general staff and the defence minister and, through that, to the Kremlin and the president's office.

The council will meet in open session at around 11:30 am (1530 GMT), diplomats said.

Scotland Yard Counter-Terror Commissioner Neil Basu said the charging of the two Russian nationals was "the most significant moment so far in what has been one of the most complex and intensive investigations we have undertaken in counterterrorism policing".

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