British authorities have charged two Russians with poisoning a former spy, his daughter and a British couple. Prime Minister Theresa May said the suspects were officers of Russia’s GRU intelligence agency.
The prime minister also accused Russia of direct involvement in the nerve agent attacks. Now Britain wants the U.N. Security Council to hear its case.
CGTN’s Richard Bestic filed this report from London.
The two men charged were named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. Some 250 detectives trawled through 11,000 hours of closed-circuit television footage and took 1,400 statements.
They tracked a route allegedly taken by the pair from their arrival at Gatwick Airport to the crime scene, via a hotel in London’s East End. Scotland Yard said they then sprayed a Soviet-era nerve agent, Novichok (hidden in a fake perfume bottle), on the door handle of the Skripal’s home.
“Both the box, the bottle and the applicator have all been specially adapted. The bottle itself contained a significant amount of Novichok,” Neil Basu, Assistant Commissioner of U.K. Counter Terrorism said. “Clearly the applicator is some form of pump dispenser. It’s the perfect delivery vehicle for applying the poison to the front door of the Skripal’s. That’s our working theory.”
The first use of Novichok six months ago targeted former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in what British police said was possibly a revenge attack on a man seen as a traitor. While critically ill initially, both survived.
In June, a man and a woman, unconnected to the world of espionage were also struck down by the military grade poison. The woman, Dawn Sturgess, died.
In Parliament, the U.K. prime minister laid the blame at the door of the Kremlin and the GRU Russian secret service.
“The actions of the GRU are a threat to all our allies and to all our citizens and on the basis of what we have learnt in the Salisbury investigation and what we know about this organization more broadly we must now step up our collective efforts specifically against the GRU,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said.
This action by Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service and the evidence supplied by Scotland Yard will press hard on already strained U.K. – Russian relations. A European arrest warrant has been obtained, which means if the two men travel anywhere inside Europe, they will be arrested and extradited to the U.K.