Putin adviser: Never heard of poisoning suspects

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Two Russian military intelligence officers are accused of carrying out the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

Police named Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov as the aliases of the two key suspects in the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English town of Salisbury in March.

"Every Russian intelligence service makes uses of freelance agents in its operations, including those carried out overseas", said Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russia's intelligence and security agencies. She added that the nerve agent attack was likely approved at a "senior level of the Russian state". Thanks in no small part to the pervasive surveillance cameras deployed by the Brits, they have a number of images showing both men, together and separately, as they traveled to accomplish their alleged mission. The GRU was named in an 11-count indictment as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election.

The Skripals were found collapsed on a bench in the cathedral city of Salisbury, about 140 kilometres southwest of London.

Those offences include conspiracy to murder Mr Skripal; the attempted murder of Mr Skripal, Ms Skripal and PC Nick Bailey; the use and possession of Novichok contrary to the Chemical Weapons Act; and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Ms Skripal and PC Bailey.

Relations between the United Kingdom and Russia, already frosty, were plunged into crisis over the incident, and Britain persuaded allies around the world to conduct coordinated expulsions of more than 150 Russian diplomats, prompting tit-for-tat retaliation from Moscow. "They [the investigators] are sure they [the suspects] are Russian".

This is the same bottle picked up by Charlie Rowley, whose girlfriend Dawn Sturgess died after being exposed to Novichok on June 30.

The use of Novichok in the assassination attempt was a violation of worldwide law banning the use of chemical weapons.

Images of the "perfume" bottle and the bottle with adapted nozzle allegedly related to the Skripals poisoning in Salisbury.

"We know that Novichok was applied to the Skripals' front door in an area that is accessible to the public, which also endangered the lives of members of the public and emergency service responders". A woman later died from Novichok poisoning after her partner found a counterfeit perfume bottle which police believe had been used to smuggle the nerve agent into Britain.

The U.K.is not asking Moscow to extradite the men because Russian law forbids extradition of the country's citizens, prosecutor Sue Hemming said Wednesday. "But should either of these individuals ever again travel outside Russian Federation, we will take every possible step to detain them, to extradite them and to bring them to face justice here in the United Kingdom". Although Moscow has denied any involvement in the attack, two Russian men have been charged.

On Wednesday, British prosecutors and police confirmed this report. Police became aware of the men by name in May, he said.

In a statement from the Metropolitan Police Wednesday morning, counter-terror boss Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said 250 counter-terror officers had been involved in the investigation, and that an Interpol red notice would be circulated for the men.

More than three months later, the bottle was found by a local man, 48-year-old Charlie Rowley.

Russia's foreign ministry said the names given by Britain did not mean anything to Moscow.

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