Published: Thu, July 19, 2018

Police reportedly ID 'Russians' behind nerve agent attack in England

Police reportedly ID 'Russians' behind nerve agent attack in England

United Kingdom police are believed to have identified the suspects behind the Novichok nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter.

The PA quoted an unnamed source with knowledge of the investigation as saying that several Russians were involved in the attempted double murder.

Russian Federation has strongly denied involvement in the Skripal attack, sparking a diplomatic row that has led to tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions between Britain and its allies and Russian Federation.

The Metropolitan Police, who are leading the investigation, declined to comment.

Reuters contributed reporting to this article.

Sergei Skripal was a double agent during the 1990s and early 2000s but was arrested in Russian Federation in 2006.

Skripal, a former colonel in Russian military intelligence who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain's MI6 foreign spy service, and his daughter Yulia, were found unconscious on a public bench in the British city of Salisbury on March 4.

The death of Dawn Sturgess, 44, from exposure to the nerve agent Novichok has added to the tensions between Russian Federation and Britain.

Dawn Sturgess died after being exposed to nerve agent Novichok
Dawn Sturgess died after being exposed to nerve agent Novichok

Ms Sturgess died on July 8, however, Mr Rowley is still in a critical condition at Salisbury District Hospital.

It is understood Ms Sturgess was exposed to at least ten times the amount of Novichok the Skripals came into contact with.

The two were taken ill at an address in Amesbury, Wiltshire - less than ten miles from Salisbury - at the start of this month.

Investigators are working to the theory that the substance was in a discarded perfume bottle.

The inquest will be opened by the Wiltshire and Swindon coroner in Salisbury, but the hearing is expected to be adjourned to allow police inquiries to continue.

The brother of Novichok victim Charles Rowley says he is living "by the hour".

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said its inspectors had collected samples in the Amesbury case and returned to the organisation's headquarters in The Hague on Wednesday to begin analysing them.

They deployed a team to "independently determine the nature of the substance" alleged to have resulted in the death of Sturgess and the poisoning of Rowley.

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