The Brazen Tradecraft of Russia's Novichok Operation

The two suspects caught on CCTV while standing at Salisbury railway station at 16:11hrs on 03 March 2018  Metropolitan Police Handout

The two suspects caught on CCTV while standing at Salisbury railway station at 16:11hrs on 03 March 2018 Metropolitan Police Handout

Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain's MI6 foreign spy service was found unconscious with his daughter Yulia on a public bench in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.

British prosecutors charged two Russians for the attempted murder of a former Russian spy and his daughter with a nerve agent, naming suspects for the first time in a case that has caused one of the biggest East-West rifts in decades.

There is now sufficient evidence to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov over the suspected nerve agent attack in the city of Salisbury in early March, British public broadcaster BBC reported on Wednesday, citing Scotland Yard and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Officials announced charges against two alleged Russian Federation agents, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, but said they were likely to be aliases and released the photographs in an attempt to uncover their true identities.

"The GRU is a highly-disciplined organization with a well-established chain of command".

Prime Minister Theresa May told MPs it was carried out by two GRU agents and sanctioned at a "senior level" in the Russian state.

Last week, the United Kingdom secured the support of the US, France, Germany and Canada at a UN Security Council meeting, at which they agreed with the UK's assessment that Russia's government "almost certainly" approved the poisoning.

Britain's security minister Ben Wallace called out Putin over the attack that used the nerve agent Novichok against the Skripals in Salisbury.

A specially modified bottle containing the nerve agent novichok used in the attack on the Skripals.

Moscow has denied allegations of Russian involvement.

Britain, France, Germany, Canada and the United States pledged on Thursday to work to disrupt "the hostile activities of foreign intelligence networks" and called on Russian Federation to disclose its nerve agent programme.

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

London said responsibility for the attack went all the way up to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"As we made clear in March, only Russian Federation had the technical means, operational experience and motive to carry out the attack".

Russian officials have said they don't recognize the suspects - whose names are believed to be aliases - and Peskov said Russia "has no reasons" to investigate them because Britain had not asked for legal assistance in the case.

The police force released a series of images of the suspects as they travelled through London and Salisbury between March 2 and March 4.

Dawn Sturgess, 44, fell ill on June 30 after handling an item contaminated with the nerve agent and was taken to a hospital, while her partner, Charlie Rowley, 45, was also exposed to the nerve agent and taken to hospital in a critical condition.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it would not apply for their extradition, as Russian Federation had made clear in previous cases that it did not extradite its nationals.

Police said they were liaising with prosecutors about further charges in connection with the death of Ms Sturgess and the poisoning of Mr 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.

The Russian foreign ministry has said that the names of the two suspects did "not mean anything to us".

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