UK calls Security Council talks on poison case

10 September, 2018, 13:43 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • THERESA-MAY

Officials announced charges against two alleged Russian Federation agents, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, but said they were likely to be aliases and released the photographs in an attempt to uncover their true identities.

The Yard said it also had "no doubt" that the attack on the Skripals was connected to the subsequent death of Dawn Sturgess and poisoning of her partner Charlie Rowley, who fell ill on 30 June after the pair came into contact with a modified perfume bottle containing Novichok which had been apparently discarded by the would-be assassins.

"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", the statement said, adding that the countries urged Russia to provide "full disclosure of its Novichok programme".

"The GRU is a highly disciplined organisation with a well-established chain of command".

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

On September 6, the governments of the United States, Canada, France, and Germany issued a statement in support of the U.K.'s assessment of the direct culpability of the Russian government in the March 2018 attempted assassination of two Russian nationals on British soil.

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

"The police have today released CCTV footage of the two men which clearly places them in the immediate vicinity of the Skripals' house at 11.58am, which the police say was moments before the attack".

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The police force released a series of images of the suspects as they travelled through London and Salisbury between March 2 and March 4.

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. As a result, Basu said, police weren't yet ready to bring charges in the second poisoning.

But "if they ever step out the Russian Federation, Britain and its allies will get them and we will bring them to prosecution", he added.

The disclosure that the two Salisbury suspects flew in from Moscow two days before the poisoning bolsters the Government's case for new measures to stop spies and agents at the border.

She also said "novichok" which was a military grade nerve agent was planted by the two who were officers in the GRU, Russian military intelligence. The prosecutors said that the U.K.is not asking Moscow to extradite the men because Russian law forbids extradition of the country's citizens. They say the names are probably aliases.

He said of the "sickening and despicable" attack: "Unequivocally, crystal clear this was the act of the Russian state, two Russian nationals sent to Britain with the sole objective of carrying out a reckless assassination attempt". Russia has denied involvement in the poisoning, accused the British government of lies and demanded investigative proof be submitted directly to Russian authorities.

Russia's top security officials routinely speak of active attempts by the CIA and other Western agencies to recruit Russians. Both Skripal, a GRU officer who turned double agent for Britain, and his daughter were hospitalized for weeks in critical condition.

The officer continues to make good progress but remains off work, police said.

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