Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

United Kingdom and Russian Federation trade barbs at UN over spy attack

United Kingdom and Russian Federation trade barbs at UN over spy attack

Britain deepened its diplomatic feud with Moscow today, charging two men it says are Russian military intelligence officers with the nerve-agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a double agent who betrayed the service by spying for the West.

Former GRU officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were left critically ill after being exposed to the military grade nerve agent Novichok in March.

The joint statement said the U.S., Canada, France and Germany "have full confidence in the British assessment that the two suspects were officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU, and that this operation was nearly certainly approved at a senior government level".

The Crown Prosecution Service says Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are charged in absentia with conspiracy to murder, attempted murder and use of the nerve agent Novichok.

Javid described the GRU as a "very well-disciplined organization" that would "only act with orders from the highest level of the Russian government".

"We were right to say in March that the Russian State was responsible".

On September 6, the governments of the United States, Canada, France, and Germany issued a statement in support of the U.K.'s assessment of the direct culpability of the Russian government in the March 2018 attempted assassination of two Russian nationals on British soil.

The motive for attacking Skripal, who was exchanged in a Kremlin-approved spy swap in 2010, is still unclear, as is the motive for using an exotic nerve agent, Novichok, which has such clear links to Russia's Soviet past.

Mr Trump's endorsement of the message followed claims that he was "reluctant" to expel 60 Russian diplomats in the aftermath of the Salisbury attack. Even as the United Kingdom released more information regarding the culpability of the Russian government in an attack involving a nerve agent only it possesses, Moscow continued its longstanding approach of denial and deflection.

At a UN Security Council meeting held the same day, Russian Federation dismissed Britain's evidence as "lies" and said its investigation was "politically motivated".

A photo made available by the London Metropolitan Police showing both suspects at Salisbury train station on March 4.

The attack sparked months of investigations by police officers and intelligence agencies.

President Putin's foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov, told reporters in Moscow that the names of the two Russian men suspected in the poisoning "do not mean anything to me".

British prosecutors have charged the two men with the attack on the Skripals, but acknowledge that Russian Federation will not extradite them.

Prosecutor Sue Hemming said Wednesday that the not asking Moscow to extradite the men because Russian law forbids extradition of the country's citizens.

One of them, 44-year-old mother of three Dawn Sturgess, died on July 8.

Basu said they ha no doubt the two events were connected and they were liaising with prosecutors about bringing charges connected to the poisoning of Sturgess and Rowley.

Inconspicuously labeled as "Nina Ricci Premier Jour" and bearing the words "Made in France", the bottle had been specially created to be leakproof and had a custom applicator, UK Metropolitan police said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the names and images of the suspects released by Britain "say nothing to us".

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