Salisbury Novichok attack: Putin ultimately responsible – minister

  1. Salisbury Novichok attack: Putin ultimately responsible – minister  BBC News
  2. UK says Russia’s Putin is ultimately responsible for Novichok attack  Reuters
  3. British government names 2 Russian nationals as suspects in Salisbury poisonings  ABC News
  4. How Russia Kills Abroad  Wall Street Journal
  5. From Mountain of CCTV Footage, Pay Dirt: 2 Russians Are Named in Spy Poisoning  New York Times
  6. Full coverage


Source: Google News

Salisbury poisoning: Two men charged over Novichok attack are 'Russian military intelligence officers'

Salisbury poisoning: Two men charged over Novichok attack are 'Russian military intelligence officers'Two Russian nationals accused of carrying out Salisbury attack Enough evidence to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov Theresa May: Pair members of GRU, Russia’s military spy service Step-by-step: CCTV timeline reveals suspects’ 54 hours in the UK Novichok found at two-star London hotel where suspects stayed Jeremy Corbyn accused of ‘weaselly’ response to naming suspects Russia’s GRU: Murky spy agency accused of being behind attack Two Russian men charged over the Salisbury poisonings are officers of Vladimir Putin’s military spy agency, Theresa May has told the House of Commons. Prosecutors said there is enough evidence to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov with offences including conspiracy to murder in the Novichok attack on ex-Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.  In a statement that will deepen the diplomatic crisis between the two countries, the Prime Minister told MPs on Wednesday afternoon that intelligence provided by UK agencies indicates the two Russians responsible for the Salisbury attack are officers of Russia’s GRU military intelligence service.  “This was not a rogue operation,” Mrs May said. “It was almost certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state.” The Crown Prosecution Service now faces a battle to bring the case as Russia does not allow the extradition of its own nationals. A European arrest warrant for the two men – who police think were travelling under aliases and are now back in Russia – has been obtained.  Video: Prime Minister addresses Commons over Salisbury Scotland Yard said the military-grade nerve agent was brought into the UK in a fake bottle of Ninna Ricci Premier Jour perfume, which had been designed as a specially-made poison applicator. It is believed that it was later found by Charlie Rowley before he and his girlfriend, Dawn Sturgess, became indirect casualties of the poisoning. Ms Sturgess died just over a week later. The fake perfume bottle had been designed as a poison applicator Credit: Metropolitan Police Neil Basu, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said it is likely the suspects were travelling under aliases and that Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names. He said the pair, who are believed to be aged around 40, had been to the UK before on the same passports and had “travelled extensively on them in the past”. Detectives believe the front door of Mr Skripal’s Salisbury home was contaminated with the military-grade substance on Sunday, March 4. Mr Basu said CCTV shows the two suspects in the vicinity of the property on that date. Hours later, the men left the UK on a flight from Heathrow to Moscow – two days after they had arrived at Gatwick. Releasing a series of CCTV images of the men in Britain, Mr Basu asked witnesses to come forward to establish their real identities. The suspects head back towards Salisbury station; the Skripals were found slumped on a bench in the town centre three hours later Credit: Metropolitan Police Russian media reports suggest Boshirov is a 40-year-old Moscow State University graduate who was living in the capital.  He was born in Dushanbe – the capital city of Tajikistan – before moving to Russia where he studied hydrology of the land in the geography department of the university, completing his degree in 2004, according to Fontanka, citing a Facebook profile matching his details. Boshirov’s latest listed address is said to be in Moscow, but less is known about Petrov, other than he is 39.  The Russian site reported a person matching his name and date of birth was on the employees list of an immunobiological manufacturer with links to Russia’s Ministry of Health.  Together, the pair are said to have travelled to Milan, Geneva, Amsterdam and Paris several times since September 2016, when Fontanka claims their fake passports were created.  They also travelled to London from between February 28 and March 5 last year, according to the Russian site, 12 months exactly before the Skripals were found poisoned in Salisbury. They stayed in the two-star City Stay Hotel, in Bow, east London, during their stay in the UK.  Officers searching their room on May 4 discovered traces of Novichok, but Scotland Yard said there is no risk to other guests. Yulia and Sergei Skripal were discovered slumped on a bench in March after being poisoned with Novichok Credit: pixel8000 The announcement of criminal charges will deepen the rift between Britain and Russia, after the nerve agent attack sparked a wave of diplomatic expulsions by the UK and its allies.  As the news broke, the Russian foreign ministry tweeted a video mocking Mrs May’s dancing in South Africa. It later said that the names released by Britain “do not mean anything to us”. British authorities believe that several Russians are thought to have been involved in the attempted murders – which also led to 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess becoming an indirect casualty of the poisoning. It is understood that the suspected perpetrators were identified through CCTV footage that was cross-checked with border entry data. Ms Sturgess died in July, with authorities believing she and boyfriend Charlie Rowley picked up a discarded vial containing the substance.  Police officers wearing protective suits and breathing equipment at work in Salisbury close to the bench where the Skripals were found slumped in March  Credit: Jack Taylor /Getty The pair fell ill on June 30 in Amesbury, near Salisbury. Mr Rowley remains seriously ill in hospital. Police believe it is linked to the poisoning of the Skripals, who were discovered slumped on a bench on March 4 and have since been discharged from hospital. Theresa May: ‘This was not a rogue operation’ Prime Minister Theresa May told the Commons that CCTV evidence “clearly” places the two Russians in the vicinity of the Skripals’ house shortly before the attack on them. She said: “This hard evidence has enabled the independent Crown Prosecution Service to conclude they have a sufficient basis on which to  bring charges.” Mrs May told MPs that investigations have concluded the two suspects are members of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service. Mrs May said: “The GRU is a highly-disciplined organisation with a well-established chain of command. So this was not a rogue operation. It was almost certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state.” The actions of the GRU are a threat to all our allies and all our citizensTheresa May Mrs May said Russia had replied with “obfuscation and lies” when asked to account for what happened, including claiming she had invented Novichok. She added: “Their attempts to hide the truth by pushing out a deluge of disinformation simply reinforces their culpability.” Mrs May said: “The actions of the GRU are a threat to all our allies and all our citizens. “On the basis of what we have learnt in the Salisbury investigation and what we know about this organisation more broadly, we must now step up our collective efforts specifically against the GRU. “We are increasing our understanding of what the GRU is doing in our countries, shining a light on their activities, exposing their methods and sharing them with our allies, just as we have done with Salisbury. “Together with our allies we will deploy the full range of tools from across our national security apparatus in order to counter the threat posed by the GRU.” Theresa May leaves Downing Street to deliver her statement to the House of Commons Credit: HANNAH MCKAY /Reuters Mrs May told MPs that the CPS did not have a policy of requesting extradition from nations who had constitutions barring the possibility. She added: “If these two individuals step outside Russia then we will take every step possible to ensure that they are detained and brought to face justice here.” The Prime Minister, in response to calls for a stepping up of sanctions, said: “We will indeed be stepping up our activity across the broad range of our capabilities and what is available to us across our national security apparatus.” Mrs May added that around 250 detectives had trawled through 11,000 hours of CCTV footage to identify the attackers and had taken more than 1,400 statements. “Working around the clock, they have carried out painstaking and methodical work to ascertain exactly which individuals were responsible and the methods they used to carry out the attack,” she told MPs. Caught on camera: The 48-hour ‘mission to kill’ When passengers left the Aeroflot SU2588 flight from Moscow to London Gatwick on the afternoon of March 2 2018, little did they know they were in the company of two men police believe were sent to the UK to kill. Here is a timeline of the suspects’ movements, released by Scotland Yard, during their brief trip to the UK: Friday, March 2 1500: Suspects Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov arrive at Gatwick Airport, having flown from Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2588. Suspect Ruslan Boshirov at Gatwick airport at 3pm on March 2 Credit: Metropolitan Police The same CCTV camera captured Alexander Petrov after the pair got off an Aeroflot flight Credit: Metropolitan Police 1740: The pair arrive at London Victoria station by train from Gatwick. 1800: They then travel on public transport to Waterloo station, and then to the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, east London, where they stay for two nights. Saturday, March 3 1145: The pair arrive at Waterloo station, having left the hotel, bound for Salisbury. It is believed the two are on a reconnaissance mission. 1425: They arrive in Salisbury by train. 1611: Having spent a short time in the city, Petrov and Boshirov leave Salisbury to begin the return journey. Both suspects at Salisbury train station at 4.11pm on March 3 Credit: Metropolitan Police 2005: The pair arrive back in Bow, east London, where they stay at the City Stay Hotel for a second night. Sunday, March 4 0805: The day of the Novichok attack. Petrov and Boshirov use the Underground at Bow to travel to Waterloo, and then on by train to Salisbury. 1148: The pair are caught on CCTV leaving Salisbury railway station. Image of both suspects at Salisbury railway station at 11.48am on March 4 Credit: Metropolitan Police 1158: They are then spotted in Wilton Road in Salisbury, a short distance from Christie Miller Road, Mr Skripal’s address. Police say this is moments before the attack. The suspects in Wilton Road, close to Mr Skripal’s house Credit: Metropolitan Police 1305: The suspects are caught on CCTV in Fisherton Street, heading back towards the railway station. Both suspects are pictured from behind on Fisherton Road Credit: Metropolitan Police 1350: Petrov and Boshirov begin their journey back to London. Both suspects, left, prepare to board a train in Salisbury Credit: Metropolitan Police 1645: The pair arrive back in London at Waterloo station. 1830: They board the Underground heading to Heathrow Airport. 1928: CCTV catches the pair going through passport control. The two suspects at Heathrow airport security Credit: Metropolitan Police 2230: They depart London for Moscow on the Aeroflot flight SU2585. Police formally link two poisoning cases The announcement on Wednesday relates to the first Salisbury poisoning, but Mr Basu confirmed that officers have now linked the attack on the Skripals to events in Amesbury less than four months later. He said: “We do not believe Dawn and Charlie were deliberately targeted, but became victims as a result of the recklessness in which such a toxic nerve agent was disposed of. “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.” Video: Met Police and CPS statement on Salisbury He said police continue to liaise with the CPS regarding the poisoning of Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley. Russia: These names mean nothing to us Russia insisted it did not know the names of the Russian suspects named by British authorities as suspects in the Salisbury attack. “The names published by the media, like their photographs, mean nothing to us,” Maria Zakharova, the Russian foreign ministry’s spokeswoman, told the TASS news agency. The Russian foreign ministry later posted a video mocking Theresa May’s dancing on her recent trip to South Africa. Mr 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”. Mr Ushakov pointed to the fact that British authorities mentioned that they think the men’s names are aliases, and wondered “why this has been done and what kind of a message” Britain is trying to send to the Russian government. Jeremy Corbyn faces claims of ‘weaselly language’ Boris Johnson accused Jeremy Corbyn of using “weaselly language” when responding to the Government’s latest claims of Russian involvement in the Salisbury nerve agent attack. The former foreign secretary was among senior Conservative MPs who lined up to criticise the Labour leader after believing he did not go far enough in his remarks to the Commons. Mr Corbyn said the Opposition “utterly condemns the appalling attacks” in the UK, describing the use of military nerve agents on the streets of Britain as an “outrage and beyond reckless”. But Mr Johnson, speaking in the Commons, was not satisfied by the remarks and told MPs: “I think the whole House will have noted what I’m afraid was the somewhat weaselly language of the leader of the Opposition in failing to condemn what is now, I think, incontrovertible, in the eyes of all right-thinking people, involvement of the Russian state at the highest level in the Salisbury poisonings.” Video: Boris Johnson attacks Labour leader in Commons He also said: “Will the Prime Minister confirm that we will be asking that these two individuals are produced for justice by Russia? “Will she be stepping up our diplomatic activity, our counter measures, our targeted sanctions so that the whole community, the international community, can show their repugnance at what Russia has done, in a way that I’m afraid the leader of the Opposition has signally failed to do today?” Prosecutor’s full statement on Salisbury charges This is the full statement from Sue Hemming, CPS Director of Legal Services: “During the weekend of 4 March 2018 in Salisbury the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia, part of a group of nerve agents known as ‘Novichok’. “A police officer, DS Nick Bailey, who was involved in searching the Skripal’s home address after this attack, was also poisoned with the same nerve agent. “The Counter Terrorism Policing Network has conducted a thorough investigation into how this attack happened. They have recently submitted a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service so we could make a decision whether criminal charges could be brought against anyone who was involved in these events. “Prosecutors from CPS Counter Terrorism Division have considered the evidence and have concluded there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and it is clearly in the public interest to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who are Russian nationals, with the following offences: Conspiracy to murder Sergei Skripal Attempted murder of Sergei Skripal, Yulia Skripal and Nick Bailey Use and possession of Novichok contrary to the Chemical Weapons Act Causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Yulia Skripal and Nick Bailey “A realistic prospect of conviction means the CPS is satisfied on an objective assessment that the evidence can be used in court and that an objective, impartial and reasonable jury hearing the case, properly directed and acting in accordance with the law, is more likely than not to convict these two individuals of the charges. “It is of course for a jury to decide whether the evidence is enough for them to be sure of the suspects’ guilt. “We will not be applying to Russia for the extradition of these men as the Russian constitution does not permit extradition of its own nationals. Russia has made this clear following requests for extradition in other cases. Should this position change then an extradition request would be made. “We have, however, obtained a European Arrest Warrant which means that if either man travels to a country where an EAW is valid, they will be arrested and face extradition on these charges for which there is no statute of limitations.â€� Read more | Salisbury Novichok poisoning Same toxic chemical killed Dawn Sturgess Independent investigators have confirmed the nerve agent used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal was the same toxic chemical that killed Dawn Sturgess in Amesbury three months later. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OCPW) said its team had confirmed the findings of the UK, which concluded in July that the substance used in Amesbury was Novichok. Ms Sturgess and her partner Charlie Rowley fell ill at his home in Amesbury, near Salisbury, on June 30. Ms Sturgess, a mother-of-three, died in hospital eight days later having never regained consciousness. Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley fell ill in Amesbury in June Credit: AFP/Getty It is believed they were exposed to a military grade nerve agent from a perfume bottle discarded by those responsible for the attack on the Skripals. The OPCW on Tuesday evening said: “The results of the analysis by the OPCW designated laboratories of environmental and biomedical samples collected by the OPCW team confirm the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that intoxicated two individuals in Amesbury and resulted in one fatality. “The toxic chemical compound displays the same toxic properties of a nerve agent. “It is also the same toxic chemical that was found in the biomedical and environmental samples relating to the poisoning of Mr Sergei Skripal, Ms Yulia Skripal, and Mr Nicholas Bailey on March 4 in Salisbury.” Russia accuses UK of keeping Skripals in ‘isolation’ Six months on from the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, Russia has reiterated its belief that the UK is flouting international law by apparently keeping the pair from having contact with embassy officials. A statement released by the Russian Embassy on Tuesday referred to the circumstances of the March attack as “obscure” and accused British authorities of keeping the Skripals in isolation ever since their release from hospital. It said: “They remain out of the public eye at an unknown location, unable to communicate freely with their relatives, friends, journalists or Russian officials, deprived of the freedom of movement.” Video: Yulia Skripal speaks of how she survived poisoning The statement claimed that authorities in the UK had refused to allow the embassy to have direct contact with the former spy and his daughter “in order to verify their actual health situation, the conditions in which they are held and, most importantly, to ascertain to which extent their isolation is voluntary”. The embassy added that it had sent more than 70 notes and letters to the Foreign Office, Home Office and police since the poisoning but had had nearly all of its queries ignored. Following her release from hospital Ms Skripal said she was “grateful for the offers of assistance from the Russian Embassy but at the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services”. The rise of biological and chemical weapons After Salisbury, how ready is the UK? Convulsions, paralysis and respiratory failure: How Novichok attacks nervous system Novichok is a group of nerve agents which are more potent and lethal than VX or sarin. They are made of two separate non-toxic substances that work as a nerve agent when brought together. They work by attacking the nervous system and stopping chemical messages from being transmitted around the body. This causes the heart to slow down and the airways to become constricted, which can lead to suffocation or brain damage. Breathing is disrupted as the muscles struggle to contract normally, while fluid may build up on the lungs. Symptoms can start within seconds or minutes of being exposed and include convulsions, paralysis and respiratory failure. Video: What Novichok is – and how it affects the body Nerve agents including Novichok can be inhaled as a fine powder, absorbed through the skin or ingested. Experts said medics would probably have relied on three chemicals to treat the Skripals after they were found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury in March. Paramedics are likely to have used diazepam to prevent convulsions, while they worked out what was responsible for the symptoms. Doctors may later have administered atropine, which counteracts the effect of the nerve agent, maintaining heart rate and stopping the secretion from entering the lungs. The Moscow weapons lab that made the deadly Novichok nerve agent An oxime, which pulls the nerve agent off the enzyme, could also have been used to help the acetylcholinesterase enzyme start functioning again. The patient’s body itself will also work to reproduce the blocked enzyme and this process will be accelerated if they have received a strong dose of nerve agent. When Mr Skripal and his daughter were discharged, the hospital warned that they may require further treatment in the future.  Newsletter promotion – global health security – end of article Skripal ‘briefed intelligence officers in Europe’ British security services allegedly sent Col Skripal to Eastern Europe to share Russian spy secrets, reports Victoria Ward. The former Russian spy is said to have travelled widely, offering information on Russian espionage to security officers in both Prague and Estonia. Such briefings have been cited as a possible motive for Russia’s attempt to kill both Col Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. A visit to Prague in 2012, when he reportedly provided information about Russian espionage methods and the activities of his former colleagues operating in Europe, was described as “beneficialâ€� and his information, although dated, was deemed valuable. Sergei Skripal profile He arrived in the city shortly after his wife, Lyudmila, died. But although he was grieving, he was in “good spirits,â€� drinking with intelligence officers and joking that his doctor had prescribed whiskey for high blood pressure. One agent suggested that although he was in poor health, his mind was sharp. In fact, Col Skripal was so helpful that Czech intelligence officers continued to meet with him, reportedly making several trips to Britain in subsequent years. The former spy is said to have visited Estonia as recently as June 2016, in which “very sensitive informationâ€� was discussed with a “select group of intelligence officersâ€�. MI6 helped facilitate the meeting, it is claimed.


Source: Yahoo! News

UK Charges 2 Men in Novichok Attack, Saying They're Russian Agents

  1. UK Charges 2 Men in Novichok Attack, Saying They’re Russian Agents  New York Times
  2. The UK has accused 2 alleged Russian intelligence officers of trying to murder a spy in England with nerve agent  Business Insider
  3. UK Charges 2 Russians Suspected In Skripal Poison Attack, Saying They Were Agents  NPR
  4. Two Russians named as suspects behind Novichok poisoning in Salisbury  Metro
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Russia: US sanctions over Novichok are 'economic war,' and all options are on the table to hit back

  1. Russia: US sanctions over Novichok are ‘economic war,’ and all options are on the table to hit back  Business Insider
  2. Russia likens US sanctions to economic war — and threatens response ‘by other means’  CNBC
  3. Russian Prime Minister Says US Sanctions Will Be Considered an Act of ‘Economic War’  TIME
  4. Ruble Tumbles as US Sets Out New Sanctions on Russia  New York Times
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Skripal case: US sanctions over Novichok hit Russian rouble

  1. Skripal case: US sanctions over Novichok hit Russian rouble  BBC News
  2. Trump administration set to hit Russia with new sanctions over chemical attack against ex-spy in Britain  Fox News
  3. US To Impose New Sanctions On Russia For Nerve Agent Attacks  NPR
  4. United Against Putin’s Poison  Wall Street Journal
  5. US to Issue New Sanctions on Russia Over Skripals’ Poisoning  New York Times
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UK police identify suspects in Novichok poisoning case, source says

  1. UK police identify suspects in Novichok poisoning case, source says  CNN
  2. Cops reportedly identify suspects in UK Russian ex-spy novichok poisoning  CBS News
  3. Britain has reportedly identified Russians suspected of Skripal nerve attack  CNBC
  4. Salisbury novichok attack: Police ‘identify several Russian suspects’ in attempted murder of Skripals  The Independent
  5. ‘Several Russians’ behind Salisbury poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal  The Times
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