U.K. Will Nab Spy Poisoning Suspects If They Leave Russia, Home Secretary Says
September 09, 2018
Britain will catch two men accused of using the Novichok nerve agent in the English town of Salisbury if they ever step out of Russia, Home Secretary Sajid Javid has said.
In an interview with the BBC broadcast on September 9, Javid acknowledged that in Russia the men were beyond the reach of British law.
But "if they ever step out the Russian Federation, Britain and its allies will get them and we will bring them to prosecution," he added.
Britain announced charges against two alleged agents of Russia's GRUmilitary intelligence service for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in March.
The attack left the Skripals hospitalized for weeks.
Britain and its allies blame Russia for the attack, a claim Moscow vehemently denies.
British authorities said that a European arrest warrant had been issued for the two Russians, identified as Aleksandr Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, although it is suspected the names are aliases.
Calling the poisoning a "sickening and despicable" attack, Javid said it was "unequivocally, crystal-clear this was the act of the Russian state -- two Russian nationals sent to Britain with the sole purpose of carrying out a reckless assassination attempt."
Javid described the GRU as a "very well-disciplined organization" that would "only act with orders from the highest level of the Russian government."
He also said that Britain had "considerable powers" to respond to Russia, adding, "We will bring all those powers, both overt and covert, to bear on Russia and what it represents today."
Britain secured the support of the leaders of United States, France, Germany, and Canada, who issued a joint statement on September 6 in which they agreed with the British assessment that Russia's government "almost certainly" approved the poisoning.
At a UN Security Council meeting held the same day, Russia dismissed Britain's evidence as "lies" and said its investigation was "politically motivated."
The attack led Britain, the United States, the European Union, and others to carry out a series of diplomatic expulsions and financial sanctions against Moscow.
British police have linked the Salisbury attack to a separate Novichok poisoning on June 30 in nearby Amesbury that led to the death of a 44-year-old woman.
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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