Salisbury poisoning: UK charges a third Russian man for nerve attack on double agent Sergei Skripal
Daniel Harries
A Russian national, identified by British police as Denis Sergeev. /Metropolitan Police

A Russian national, identified by British police as Denis Sergeev. /Metropolitan Police


British police say a third Russian has been charged in absentia with the 2018 Novichok murder attempt on former double agent Sergei Skripal, claiming that the three suspects were military intelligence operatives.

The attack on Skripal, who sold Russian secrets to the UK, caused the most significant row between Moscow and the West since the Cold War, leading to the tit-for-tat expulsion of dozens of diplomats after London pointed the finger of blame at the Kremlin.

Russia has consistently rejected any involvement in the matter, casting the accusations as anti-Russia propaganda.



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Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a public bench in the southern English city of Salisbury in March 2018. Along with police officer Nick Bailey, who went to Skripal's house to investigate, they were left seriously ill in hospital from exposure to the military-grade nerve agent.

The three eventually recovered but Salisbury resident Dawn Sturgess died from Novichok poisoning after her partner found a discarded counterfeit perfume bottle, which police believe had contained the poison.

In September 2018, British prosecutors charged two Russians, then identified by the aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, with conspiracy to murder Skripal and the attempted murder of Yulia and Bailey.

Dean Haydon, the UK's senior national coordinator for counter-terrorism policing, said prosecutors had now authorized them to charge a third man, Sergey Fedotov, who he said is aged about 50, with the same offenses.

Haydon also said Petrov and Boshirov were actually named Alexander Mishkin and Anatoliy Chepiga and that Fedotov's true identity was Denis Sergeev.


Skripal plot 

"We can't go into the detail of how, but we have the evidence that links them to the GRU [the Russian federal intelligence agency]," Haydon told reporters, describing them as highly trained. "All three of them are dangerous individuals."

As with the other two Russians, British police had obtained an arrest warrant for Fedotov and they were applying for Interpol notices against him, he said.

All three men are believed to be in Russia, with which Britain has no extradition treaty, and the Russian authorities have so far offered no cooperation, Haydon added.


Litvinenko case

The police announcement comes on the same day the European Court of Human Rights ruled Russia was responsible for the 2006 killing of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned at a London hotel with Polonium 210 – a rare radioactive isotope.

Andrei Lugovoy, one of the men Britain accused of murdering Litvinenko, told Reuters on Tuesday that the ruling was politically motivated.

"I think this decision is absolutely politically motivated," Lugovoy told Reuters in an audio message shared by his assistant. "I am very skeptical about it. I think it is extremely idiotic and damaging to the reputation of the European Court of Human Rights."

Kremlin critic Litvinenko, 43, died weeks after drinking green tea laced with Polonium-210 at London's Millennium hotel in an attack Britain has long blamed on Moscow.

Source(s): Reuters

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