The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service said on Wednesday that it had enough evidence to accuse two Russian nationals of being responsible for the attempted poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in March.
A European Arrest Warrant has been issued for the two men who have been identified by their presumed pseudonyms as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Bochirov, said the Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Neil Basu, at a press conference. Traces of Novichok were found in the hotel room in the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, east London, where the two men stayed. The men arrived in the UK on March 2nd and left on March 4th.
However, there will be no extradition request sent to Russia, said Sue Hemming, the director of legal services of the public prosecutor, “because the Russian Constitution does not allow the extradition of its nationals.”
The Russian government immediately denied knowing the two wanted men. “The names and photographs that were published in the media do not tell us anything,” said spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova. She also criticised the UK government saying: “Once again we ask the British to move from public accusations and manipulating information to practical co-operation via the law enforcement agencies.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to make a statement later in the House of Commons on the matter, which has caused a sharp deterioration in relations between London and Moscow.
The United Kingdom has accused Russia of carrying out the attack on former spy and double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the city of Salisbury in southern England on 4 March. They were poisoned with a neurotoxic agent, Novichok, which was manufactured in the Soviet Union. The Kremlin has consistently denied any involvement in the incident.