Russian spy ‘visited Britain EXACTLY one year before Novichok attack in Salisbury’

Marsha Scott
September 10, 2018

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are now wanted in the case, according to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The leaders of the United States, France, Germany and Canada later said they had "full confidence" in Britain's assessment that officers from Russia's military intelligence service were behind the Novichok attack that almost killed Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.

"It was nearly certainly approved ... at a senior level of the Russian state", May said.

Police said they were aged in their 40s and had travelled on Russian passports arriving at Britain's Gatwick airport at 3pm on Friday, March 2 on Aeroflot flight SU2588 from Moscow.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Wednesday that Moscow has no knowledge of the two suspects, saying their names and photos "say nothing to us".

Both have been charged with conspiracy to murder Sergei Skripal, attempted murder of Sergei Skripal, Yulia Skripal and Nick Bailey, use and possession of the nerve agent Novichok contrary to the Chemical Weapons Act and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to kill Yulia Skripal and Nick Bailey.

However prosecutors said they would not be applying to Russia for the extradition of the men, as the country's constitution bars extradition of Russian nationals to other countries. However, they have obtained a European Arrest Warrant, meaning if the men were to travel to an EU state, they could then be arrested.

But assistant police commissioner Neil Basu conceded it was "very, very unlikely" police would be in a position to arrest them any time soon.

May's spokesman said May had briefed U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening. He was freed in a 2010 spy swap and settled in the UK.

The case has been likened by British politicians to the murder of Russian dissident and former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with a rare radioactive isotope in a London hotel in 2006. They spent weeks hospitalized in critical condition and are now recovering in a secret location for their own protection.

Six months after the poisoning rocked the quiet cathedral city, police gave new details about what Basu called "one of the most complex investigations" the force had ever seen.

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Detectives believe the front door of Mr Skripal's Salisbury home was contaminated with Novichok on March 4.

Basu said traces of Novichok contamination were found in the London hotel room where the two men had stayed.

United Kingdom police now believe the deadly nerve agent used in the attempted murder of a former Russian double agent and his daughter was brought into the country in a counterfeit perfume bottle with a specially made poison applicator.

"We also note the UK's analysis, independently verified by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), that the exact same chemical nerve agent was used in the poisoning of Dawn Sturgess and Charles Rowley as was used in the poisoning of the Skripals".

He was hospitalised and his girlfriend Dawn Sturgess died after being exposed to the contents.

Investigations into the poisoning of Mr Rowley and Ms Sturgess are ongoing.

Peskov also said that Russian Federation "has no reasons" to investigate the two individuals charged Wednesday because Britain has not asked for legal assistance in the case.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Kremlin rejected that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ultimately responsible for poisoning Sergei Skripal in England, and said Russia is not going to investigate the suspects.

But he added that "the manner in which the bottle and packaging has been adapted makes it a ideal cover for smuggling the weapon into the country, and a flawless delivery method for the attack against the Skripal's front door".

Although another spy agency, the SVR, is Russia's official foreign intelligence service, the GRU is mandated to undertake operations around the world.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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