Salisbury attack suspects ‘are members of Russian military intelligence’

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Britain has concluded that the two men charged on Wednesday for the attempted murder of a former spy and his daughter with a nerve agent were Russian military intelligence officers nearly certainly acting with senior-level state approval.

While UK officials have blamed the Russian government for the poisoning, Basu refused to disclose whether police believed the suspects worked for Russia's intelligence services, saying that "this was a sophisticated attack across borders".

"This was not a rogue operation".

Speaking before Scotland Yard's statement, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow had repeatedly offered to cooperate with Britain in the Skripal investigation but had been met with "either refusal or silence".

Mrs May said Russian Federation had replied with "obfuscation and lies" when asked to account for what happened, including claiming she had invented Novichok. Russia's charge d'affairs in London Ivan Volodin was summoned to the Foreign Office on Wednesday over the Salisbury incident, the Russian embassy told TASS. Russian Federation has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attack. British police believe the names are aliases, although the two men travelled on authentic Russian passports.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australia is in lock-step with the United Kingdom in holding Russian Federation to account for the nerve agent attack.

Police didn't test the budget City Stay Hotel for Novichok until two months after the attack, but Basu said the tiny quantity of nerve agent found there did not pose a risk to other guests. "Should this position change then an extradition request would be made", Hemming said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday the suspects' names said nothing to Russia. Britain has obtained domestic and European arrest warrants for the suspects, meaning they can be detained if they leave Russian Federation for another European country.

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Hours later, the men left the United Kingdom on a flight from Heathrow to Moscow - two days after they had arrived at Gatwick.

CCTV image of Russian Ruslan Boshirov arriving at Gatwick airport.

"We now have sufficient evidence to bring charges in relation to the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury and domestic and European arrest warrants have been issued for the two suspects". Photos of the pair were being made public in the hope that someone would recognise them. Two swabs returned a positive reading for Novichok contamination, but at such low levels that the next time police swabbed the room, no traces were detected.

Police released images of a counterfeit Nina Ricci Premier Jour pink perfume box and a bottle with a modified nozzle that was used to secrete the military-grade nerve agent into Britain. The suspects flew back to Moscow later that evening.

The two men have been charged with conspiracy to murder Sergei Skripal; the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal, his daughter Yulia Skripal, and police officer Nick Bailey; a violation of the Chemical Weapons Act; and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Yulia Skripal and Bailey.

May said. She added that Britain's security services would pay closer attention to the GRU and work with allies to "deploy the full range of tools from across our national security apparatus in order to counter the threat posed by the GRU". He moved to England in 2010 as part of a spy swap.

The Skripals and Bailey both recovered, but in June, a British couple fell ill from the same type of nerve agent in the nearby town of Amesbury.

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