UK names two Russians for attempted
murder of Skripals with nerve agent
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[September 05, 2018]
By Michael Holden and Guy Faulconbridge
LONDON (Reuters) - British prosecutors on
Wednesday identified two Russians who they accused of trying to murder
former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a
military-grade nerve agent in England.
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 southern city of
Salisbury on March 4.
Britain has blamed Russia 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. Russia has repeatedly denied any
involvement in the attack.
British prosecutors named the two suspects as Alexander Petrov and
Ruslan Boshirov, who police said arrived in Britain from Moscow on March
2 at London's Gatwick airport on an Aeroflot flight and left on March 4.
Police released images of the two men.
Neil Basu, Head of UK Counter Terrorism policing, said the two suspects
were traveling under aliases but were around 40 years old and had
genuine Russian passports.
"We would like to hear from anyone who knows them," Basu said. Russia's
foreign ministry said the names given by Britain did not mean anything
Basu said Novichok was sprayed on the front door of Skripal's house in
Salisbury, where the two men were sighted on CCTV nearby. Basu said
traces of Novichok contamination were found in the London hotel room
where the two men had stayed.
"Tests were carried out in the hotel room where the suspects had stayed.
Two swabs showed contamination of Novichok of levels below that which
would cause concern for public health," Basu said.
A European arrest warrant has been issued for the two Russians, the
[to top of second column]
Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who were formally accused of
attempting to murder former Russian intelligence officer Sergei
Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, are seen in an image
handed out by the Metropolitan Police in London, Britain September
5, 2018. Metroplitan Police handout via REUTERS
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.
They are also charged with use and possession of Novichok, contrary
to the Chemical Weapons Act.
“We will not be applying to Russia for the extradition of these men
as the Russian constitution does not permit extradition of its own
nationals," said Sue Hemming, director of Legal Services at the
Crown Prosecution Service.
A British woman, Dawn Sturgess, died in July after coming across a
small bottle containing Novichok near Salisbury where the Skripals
were struck down. Her partner, Charlie Rowley, was also stricken.
Police said Rowley and Sturgess had found a counterfeit Nina Ricci
Premier Jour perfume bottle which tests later showed had contained
(Reporting by Michael Holden, Writing by William Schomberg and Kate
Holton, editing by Stephen Addison)
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