Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Putin adviser: never heard of poisoning suspects

Putin adviser: never heard of poisoning suspects

The leaders of the United States, France, Germany and Canada later said they had "full confidence" in Britain's assessment that officers from Russia's military intelligence service were behind the Novichok attack that almost killed Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a global watchdog, on Tuesday confirmed that Novichok was involved in their poisoning.

The Crown Prosecution Service said the men, who entered Britain under the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, are being charged in absentia with conspiracy to murder, attempted murder, and use of the nerve agent Novichok.

Britain's prime minister, Theresa May, told parliament this week that two Russian intelligence officers were behind the attacks on double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, southern England.

It was "unequivocally, crystal clear this was the act of the Russian state - two Russian nationals sent to Britain with the sole objective of carrying out a reckless assassination attempt", he said.

The leaders said the link to the Russian service - revealed on Wednesday - would strengthen their intention to work together against foreign spy networks, the use of chemical weapons, and to "defend ourselves from all forms of malign state activity directed against us and our societies".

In an update to the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Theresa May pointed the finger of blame directly at the Russian government.

Addressing the council, Britain's ambassador to the UN Karen Pierce, said the nerve agent attack was a "direct challenge" to the "rules-based global system that has kept all of us safe since 1945".

Mr Javid told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show the GRU operated on a "very short leash from the Kremlin" and was "getting its instructions directly from the highest levels of the Russian government".

Metropolitan Police say they arrived at Gatwick Airport from Moscow on 2 March and stayed at the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, east London before travelling to Salisbury on 4 March, where Mr Skripal's front door was contaminated with Novichok.

"Neither the top leadership of Russian Federation, nor the leadership of lower ranks. had anything to do with the events in Salisbury".

Britain and dozens of other countries have kicked out scores of Russian diplomats over the incident, and Moscow has responded tit-for-tat with an identical number of expulsions.

A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry said Wednesday it had no knowledge of Petrov or Boshirov, and accused British authorities of manipulating information in the case.

He added: "I don't think anyone can ever say that Mr Putin isn't in control of his state".

He added: "The GRU is without doubt not rogue".

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in March 2018. It is led, linked to both the senior members of the Russian general staff and the defence minister and, through that, to the Kremlin and the president's office.

Britain will brief the UN Security Council later Thursday on its latest findings, with the meeting due to open around 11:30 am (1530 GMT).

Britain says the responsibility for the attack goes all the way up to President Vladimir Putin.

"We retaliate in our way. within the rule of law and in a sophisticated way, so they know the cost of what they do", he said.

Scotland Yard gave some details of its investigation into the chemical attack and the movement of the two suspects, who were caught on CCTV footage conducting reconnaissance around their target of Skripals' home in Salisbury.

The woman, Dawn Sturgess, fell ill within 15 minutes and died on 8 July, but the man who also came into contact with the poison, survived.

Nebenzia has argued if the British are saying Petrov and Boshirov brought Novichok into the country in this Nina Ricci bottle then there is a key inconsistency.

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