Two russian agents allegedly perpetrated the poison attack on former russian spy sergei skripal. British prime minister theresa may announced that.
Earlier, police and prosecutors had released mugshots and names of two russian suspects. Alexander petrov and ruslan boschirov now wanted on international arrest warrant. However, the british police assume that these are not the real names of the two men.
According to may, they are members of the russian military intelligence service GRU, for which skripal was also once active. She again blamed the kremlin for the attack. "This was not an unauthorized operation. It was almost certainly sanctioned outside the GRU by higher ups in the russian state," the head of government told parliament in london. Moscow accuses them of "obfuscation and lying.
Father and daughter skripal were on 4. March discovered unconscious on a park bench in the small southern english town of salisbury. They had been poisoned with the agent nowitschok. Both narrowly escaped death. In the meantime they live in a secret place. The case triggered a serious diplomatic crisis.
The investigators then traced the route of the two suspects to salisbury, which took them about 11 hours.000 hours of video recordings analyzed. The men had also been in the vicinity of sergej skripal’s residence. Police believe they put the poison on the door handle.
Both are accused of three counts of attempted murder, grievous bodily harm and possession of the chemical agent nowichok, according to the prosecutor general’s office. In addition to sergej skripal and his daughter julia, a police officer had also been treated for symptoms of poisoning.
The two russians are now also considered prime suspects in the case of a couple from amesbury who accidentally came into contact with the agent months after the attack on the skripals. "There is no other line of investigation," may said. In the incident, a man had given his girlfriend a perfume bottle he had found earlier. She had been exposed to the liquid in it – the mother of three died eight days later in hospital.
Novichok is one of the most lethal warfare agents and can enter the body through the skin or the respiratory tract. The chances of survival are very slim. Soviet researchers secretly developed the series of novel neurotoxins in the 1970s and 80s to evade international bans. Also other countries researched with it.
"We now have sufficient evidence to bring charges in connection with the attack on sergej and julia skripal," said the head of the british anti-terror police, neil basu. The suspects are said to be about 40 years old. Scotland yard asked the public for tips.
The russian auben ministry immediately rejected all accusations. "The names and pictures published in the media tell us nothing," ministry spokeswoman maria zakharova said in moscow, according to the agency tass. London should not manipulate the public, but cooperate with russia in the clarification, he said.
According to police, the two suspects were arrested on 2. March flown to great britain. The following day they are said to have scouted the southern english town of salisbury and on 4. March – the day of the attack – had left again. Tiny traces of the nerve agent used had been detected in her hotel in london.
Investigations by the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons (OPCW) later determined that it was exactly the same substance as in the perfume bottle. The police stressed in a statement: "we have no doubt that the two incidents are related, and they now form a single investigation."It is suspected that the two culprits smuggled the poison in the perfume bottle to great britain.
As a result of the crisis, great britain, the USA and allied countries – including germany – expelled more than 140 russian diplomats in total. The kremlin reacted with similar measures.
The U.S. Also determined that russia was responsible for the use of weapons of mass destruction. This triggers sanctions under the law, which previously only existed against north korea and syria. A first round of criminal investigations has been in effect since late august. They are still relatively mild, but the ruble exchange rate and the shares of russian companies came under pressure.
Russian economy will be hit harder by second round of sanctions after three months. It could paralyze the foreign operations of russian banks; the airline aeroflot could lose landing rights in the U.S. Moscow reserves the right to countermeasures, but the kremlin does not have many options: the trade is too small, the dependence on U.S. Technology too great, to be able to hit the U.S.
No further investigations are expected, however, into 14 deaths in recent years in which there has been speculation about a possible role for moscow, may said. Among other things, the mysterious death of the kremlin critic boris berezovsky.