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

09-05-2018
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British authorities say they have enough evidence to charge two Russian men over the nerve-agent poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the English city of Salisbury.

"This was not a rogue operation," Prime Minister Theresa May said of the two suspects believed to be part of the GRU, Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are now wanted in the case, according to the Crown Prosecution Service. Police said in a statement that those are the names by which the suspects "are known to them."

Police say both men, who are about 40 years old, flew from Moscow to London on Russian passports two days before the Skripals were poisoned on March 4. A police officer, Nick Bailey, was also hurt in the attack.

CCTV footage captured the pair traveling on public transportation to a hotel in East London before catching a train to Salisbury on March 3 where it is believed they scouted out the area.

Police say it's believed the pair sprayed Sergei Skripal's doorknob with the nerve agent from a small perfume bottle.

Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Neil Basu told reporters it is likely the suspects were traveling under aliases and Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names.

Sue Hemming, CPS director of legal services, said, "Prosecutors from CPS Counter Terrorism Division have considered the evidence and have concluded there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and it is clearly in the public interest to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who are Russian nationals."

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.

Dawn Sturgess, 44, became an indirect casualty of the poisoning and she died after she touched the poisoned item with her hand.

Her partner, Charlie Rowley, 48, was also treated in the same Salisbury hospital and later released.

The attack sparked months of investigations by police officers and intelligence agencies.

The incident has also caused relations between the UK and Russia to be the worst they have been since the end of the Cold War.

UK intelligence chiefs blamed Russia for the attack, but Moscow denies all responsibility.

The Crown Prosecution Service announced Wednesday, Sept. 5, that it will not be applying to Russia for the extradition of the two men, but a European Arrest Warrant has been obtained.

"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," the Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement. "Russia has made this clear following requests for extradition in other cases. Should this position change then an extradition request would be made."

The Russian foreign ministry has said that the names of the two suspects did "not mean anything to us."

Both father and daughter were very ill in hospital but have since made a full recovery.

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