The Great Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service announced Wednesday that two Russian suspects – Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov – have been charged in the death former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and the attempted murder of his daughter, according to the Daily Mail.
Skripal died and Yulia Skripal had to be hospitalized in March after they were exposed to Novichok poisoning in Salisbury, the newspaper reported. Authorities tied the deaths of Dawn Sturgess to the same attack, along with an injury sustained by local police officer Nick Bailey, who had to be hospitalized, the Daily Mail noted.
Petrov and Boshirov were charged with conspiracy to murder and attempted murder, but prosecutors admitted that the men were likely traveling under aliases and the names are probably bogus, per the Daily Mail.
“Today marks the most significant moment so far in what has been one of the most complex and intensive investigations we have undertaken in Counter Terrorism policing; the charging of two suspects – both Russian nationals – in relation to the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal,” Scotland Yard’s counter terror Commissioner Neil Basu said.
Police in the United Kingdom said that both men traveled with legitimate Russian passports into the country days before the Skripal assault. Prosecutors said they believe both men worked for Russia’s secret service, known as the GDU, the Guardian noted.
Law enforcement discovered CCTV footage of Petrov and Boshirov arriving at Gatwick Airport before staying at the City Stay Hotel in London. The two traveled to Salisbury on what was believed to be a reconnaissance mission before being spotted two days later near Skripal’s home, the Guardian detailed.
Authorities theorized that the men spread the military-grade poison on the front door of Skripal’s house and then flew back through Heathrow Airport later that day.
“It is of course for a jury to decide whether the evidence is enough for them to be sure of the suspects’ guilt,” Sue Hemming, the CPS director of legal services said. “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.”
Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons Wednesday that they believe the suspects were not carrying out a rogue operations, the Sun reported.
“Based on a body of intelligence, the government has concluded that the two individuals named by the police and CPS are officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU,” May said.