The Speaker
Sunday, 19 May 2024 – 19:10

Salisbury Novichok suspects identified

The suspects of the Novichok poisoning in Salisbury have been identified as two Russian nationals who allegedly work for Russia’s military intelligence service.

The two men travelled to the UK via Heathrow using the aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

The CPS and Scotland Yard have stated that there is sufficient evidence to charge the two suspects.

This situation has undergone a thorough investigation which dates back to earlier this year in March. Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia, aged 66 and 33 respectively, were poisoned with a nerve agent called Novichok.

Sergeant Nick Bailey, the first officer to arrive at the scene of the Novichok attack, had fallen ill shortly after.

The Police have linked the initial attack to another one which was a Novichok poisoning in June 2018 when Ms Dawn Sturgess and Mr Charlie Rowley fell ill in a house which was located at about eight miles from Salisbury. 

Ms Sturgess passed away on 9 July and Mr Rowley was released from hospital on the 20th that month.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that the two suspects were members of the GRU intelligence service. She added that the poisoning was a planned operation which was “almost certainly” approved by a senior member of the Russian state outside the GRU.

“As the Crown Prosecution Service and police announced earlier today, we have obtained a European Arrest Warrant and will shortly issue an Interpol red notice.”

She continued: “Should either of these individuals ever again travel outside Russia, we will take every possible step to detain them, to extradite them and to bring them to face justice here in the United Kingdom.”

Mr Skripal, victim of the Salisbury attack in March, was previously a Russian spy who worked for the GRU and was sentenced to 13 years in prison for treason in 2006. He was then freed four years later by the UK as part of a spy-swap and was sent to the UK.

Mr Skripal had apparently lived a quiet life in Britain and still used his real identity. However, it as revealed earlier this year that Skripal and his daughter were spied on by Russia for at least five years before the poisoning.

Ms May stated that the nerve agents were first developed in the Soviet Union during the 1980’s whereby the operation was given a different name. 

Russia’s production of the nerve agents over the past ten years completely violates the Chemical Weapons Convention. 

She stated: “During the 2000’s, Russia commenced a programme testing means of delivering nerve agents, including by application to door handles.”

Police have said that the suspects of the poisoning left the UK and went back to Moscow right after they put the novichok poison on Skripal’s door.

European Arrest Warrants have been issued as well as Interpol red notices which would mean that if the suspects were to leave Russia, they would immediately be arrested.

Skip to content