Britain versus Russian Federation on Novichok attacks: who do you believe?

Geraldine Edwards
September 10, 2018

"We have, however, obtained a European arrest warrant (EAW)", said CPS director of legal services, Sue Hemming.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in March 2018. Basu said that traces of Novichok were found in a room, but in too small a quantity to be harmful.

"On Saturday March 3 they visited Salisbury, arriving at approximately 2.25pm and leaving less than two hours later, at 4.10pm".

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.

British police have linked the poisoning of the Skripals with a case almost four months later that saw Charlie Rowley and his partner, Dawn Sturgess, hospitalised after they came into contact with the same military-grade nerve agent.

They also noted the OPCW's findings that "the exact same chemical nerve agent" was used in the fatal poisoning of Dawn Sturgess. Police said Novichok was applied to the front door of the Skripal's home.

Ms Sturgess, who died after being exposed to novichok, and Mr Rowley, were not targeted intentionally, May said, but rather were victims of "the reckless disposal of this agent".

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Police also released an image of a counterfeit perfume bottle after tests found it contained a "significant amount" of Novichok.

Rowley, 45, revealed when he regained consciousness that he found a discarded box of perfume from a charity bin and handed it to his girlfriend Dawn as a present.

Mr Basu said the manner in which the bottle and packaging was adapted makes it a "perfect cover" for smuggling the weapon into the country.

Victoria said she did not know the suspects, and thanked Russian authorities and Putin personally for helping her.

- Said that despite meticulous and painstaking searches, although unlikely, it is impossible to guarantee there are no other materials linked to the incidents in Salisbury.

"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. with conspiracy to murder Sergei Skripal and the attempted murder of Skripal, his daughter Yulia, and police officer Nick Bailey", a CPS statement said.

Hemming said Britain would not be asking Russian Federation to extradite the men because that country's constitution does not permit extradition of its own nationals. Should this position change then an extradition request would be made.

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"[This] means that if either man travels to a country where an EAW is valid, they will be arrested and face extradition on these charges for which there is no statute of limitations".

The Russian charge d'affaires in London was summoned to the Foreign Office to be told Britain wanted those responsible to be brought to justice. "For example, on the photos of suspects from London, on which they are captured passing through an identical corridor, allegedly at Gatwick airport, the time coincides with the accuracy of a fraction of a second".

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 critically ill in hospital but have since been discharged.

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".

They said the pair had previously travelled to Britain under these identities and had legitimate reasons for their visas, though did not say what type of visa they had.

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