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Salisbury attack: PM calls on Russia to hand over novichok suspects as third spy charged over poisoning

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Boris Johnson has today called on Russia to hand over those responsible for the Salisbury novichok poisonings after a new suspect was named.

The Prime Minister told Sky News he wanted the suspects “handed over for justice” after a third Russian spy, Denis Sergeev, faces charges of attempted murder.

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel vowed that the government will be “relentless” in its pursuit of justice over the incident and told MPs in the House of Commons that ministers are “committed” to introducing new legislation to counter state threats.

Former Russian military officer Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia were lucky to escape with their lives after exposure to the poison.

Dawn Sturgess died from exposure to novichok and her partner Charlie Rowley continues to suffer from medical issues after the incident. Police officer Nick Bailey was forced to quit the force after coming into contact with the nerve agent.

Read More

Salisbury attack: Denis Sergeev named as ‘third man’ responsible as UK police authorise charges

Salisbury novichok attack: Timeline of movements by Russian ‘spies’ accused of attack

Salisbury novichok attack: How a lethal substance sparked an international incident in a quiet English city

Key Points

  • Boris Johnson demands Russia hand over novichok poisoning suspects

  • Priti Patel says government will be ‘relentless in pursuit of justice’

  • All three suspects had met in central London, says Patel

  • Timeline of movement of Russian spies accused of novichok attack

  • Met Police confirms real identities of the three suspects

  • Denis Sergeev named as ‘third man’ responsible as UK police authorise charges

  • Novichok bottle that went missing in Salisbury ‘could have killed thousands'

  • Russia accuses UK of using Salisbury incident to 'increase anti-Russian feeling in British society’

Denis Sergeev named as ‘third man’ responsible as UK police authorise charges

11:03 , Joe Middleton

A third Russian spy has been charged with involvement in the 2018 Salisbury novichok attack.

Denis Sergeev, who travelled to the UK under the alias Sergey Fedotov, is believed to have commanded the two GRU agents who carried out the poisoning from London.

He flew from Moscow to Heathrow Airport on 2 March 2018, arriving around four hours before his colleagues, and stayed at a hotel in Paddington for two nights.

Lizzie Dearden reports

Denis Sergeev named as third man responsible for Salisbury novichok attack

How a lethal substance sparked an international incident in a quiet English city

11:05 , Joe Middleton

The Independent’s Andy Gregory wrote an extensive feature on the shocking and tragic events that thrust the Wiltshire city into global headlines.

How a novichok attack sparked an international incident in Salisbury

Pictured: Denis Sergeev

11:09 , Joe Middleton

 (PA)
(PA)

What has Denis Sergeev been charged with?

11:16 , Joe Middleton

In a press release from the Metropolitan Police, Sergeev has been charged with the following offences:

-Conspiracy to murder Sergei Skripal;

- Attempted murder of Sergei Skripal, Yulia Skripal and Nick Bailey;

- Causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Yulia Skripal and Nick Bailey; and,

- Possession and use of a chemical weapon, contrary to the Chemical Weapons Act 1996.

Novichok bottle that went missing in Salisbury ‘could have killed thousands'

11:21 , Joe Middleton

The amount of novichok concealed in a counterfeit perfume bottle used in the 2018 Salisbury attack could have killed thousands of people, police have said.

Investigators still do not know what happened to the weapon between when it was used to poison Sergei Skripal on 4 March 2018, and when it was discovered by a member of the public on 22 June that year.

Believing the fake Nina Ricci perfume to be real, Charlie Rowley gave it as a present to his partner Dawn Sturgess, who died after applying the nerve agent to her skin.

The Independent’s security correspondent Lizzie Dearden reports.

Novichok bottle that went missing in Salisbury ‘could have killed thousands’

Today’s announcement ‘will affect many people’ says Wiltshire Police chief constable

11:28 , Joe Middleton

Wiltshire Police chief constable Kier Pritchard said he welcomed the development today.

“I know this announcement by the Counter Terrorism Policing Network today will affect many people - the victims, their families and the communities of Salisbury and Amesbury,” he said.

“These shocking incidents had a significant impact on all involved and my thoughts, and those of Wiltshire Police, remain with Sergei and Yulia Skripal, Charlie Rowley, the family of Dawn Sturgess, who tragically died, and former Wiltshire Police Detective Sergeant, Nick Bailey.

“The Counter Terrorism Policing Network investigation team continues to work tirelessly to seek to bring those responsible to justice and Wiltshire Police will continue to offer our full and ongoing support in this investigation.”

Timeline of movement of Russian spies accused of novichok attack

11:41 , Joe Middleton

The Independent’s security correspondent Lizzie Dearden previously created a timeline showing the movements of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov after they landed in the UK.

Timeline of movements by Russian ‘spies’ accused of Salisbury attack

Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner welcomes ‘important’ announcement

11:55 , Joe Middleton

Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson said: “My thoughts, and those of my office, remain with Dawn Sturgess’ family and friends, alongside the other victims who have had their lives devastated by this incident.

“While today’s announcement is important, it is vital we remember a member of our community was killed and others left changed and traumatised by the barbaric use of a nerve agent on UK soil.

“Our community has rebuilt, and those other victims are coming to terms with the long-lasting implications, so my hope now is the perpetrators will have their appalling crimes levelled against them and all of the victims will see justice served in their names.

“I am democratically elected to hold our police force to account, it would be widely welcomed if some foreign security services demonstrated that same accountability.”

Foreign Office will raise Denis Sergeev issue with Russian ambassador, confirms PM spokesperson

12:12 , Joe Middleton

The UK will raise with the Russian ambassador on Tuesday the issue of a third Russian who has been charged in absentia with the 2018 Novichok murder attempt on a former double agent, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said.

“The FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) will be raising this matter with the Russian ambassador today,” the spokesman said.

“If these individuals should ever travel outside Russia we will do everything we can to detain them, to extradite them and to bring them to justice here in the UK.”

It would be ‘futile’ to try and bring Sergeev to justice while he is in Russia, No10 spokesman says

12:31 , Joe Middleton

Downing Street acknowledged it would be “futile” to seek to bring Denis Sergeev to justice while he remained in Russia.

A No 10 spokesman said: “We don’t have an extradition treaty with Russia and, as we have found with other cases such as that of Litvinenko, any formal extradition request is futile.”

CPS comment in full

12:51 , Joe Middleton

Nick Price, CPS Head of Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: “We are working closely with the police to ensure that, where possible, those responsible for this attack are brought to justice.

“Our specialist prosecutors have considered the additional evidence against the third suspect and have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and that it is clearly in the public interest to charge Sergey Fedotov, who is a Russian national, with a number of offences including conspiracy to murder, attempted murder and the use and possession of a chemical weapon.

“We will not be applying to Russia for the extradition of Sergey Fedotov 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.

“A realistic prospect of conviction means that the CPS is satisfied on an objective assessment that the evidence can be used in court and that an objective, impartial and reasonable jury hearing the case, properly directed and acting in accordance with the law, is more likely than not to convict Sergey Fedotov of the charges. It is of course for a jury to decide whether the evidence is enough for them to be sure of the suspect’s guilt.”

Who is the ‘third man’ wanted over Salisbury poisonings?

13:07 , Joe Middleton

British police say Denis Sergeev is an agent in Russian’s GRU military intelligence service, aged around 50.

Further details of his life and career have previously been revealed by the investigative website Bellingcat, but not confirmed by authorities.

The Independent’s security correspondent Lizzie Dearden has all the details about Sergeev.

Denis Sergeev: Who is the ‘third man’ wanted over Salisbury poisonings?

Met Police confirms real identities of the three suspects

13:25 , Lamiat Sabin

The Metropolitan Police has said that detectives uncovered evidence confirming the real identities of the three suspects.

‘Sergey Fedotov’ is actually Denis Sergeev, ‘Alexander Petrov’ is Alexander Mishkin, and ‘Ruslan Boshirov’ is Anatoliy Chepiga.

“They have all previously worked together for the ‘GRU’ in operations outside Russia,” the Met said.

The force has called on people who might have seen the suspects in the UK, between 2-4 March 2018, to get in touch by calling 0800 789 321.

Patel says government will be ‘relentless in pursuit of justice’

13:40 , Lamiat Sabin

Priti Patel said that the government will be “relentless in pursuit of justice” for the victims of the “sickening and dispicable” novichok attacks.

The Home Secretary said that ministers are “committed” to introducing new legislation to counter state threats in the UK.

She added: “Should any of these individuals ever travel outside Russia we will work with our international partners and take every possible step to detain them and extradite them to face justice.”

“We respect the people of Russia but we will do everything it takes to keep our country safe. We will work actively to deter and defend against the spectrum of threats emanating from Russia,” Ms Patel also said.

She said that the “appalling” incidents have “challenged the fundamental basis of international order”.

Former PM says government should do ‘all it can’ for justice

13:53 , Lamiat Sabin

Theresa May, who was PM at the time of the Salisbury attack, called for the government to do “all it can” to bring the suspected attackers to justice.

She said in the Commons: “The use of a chemical weapon – Novichok – on the streets of Salisbury was an appalling crime which sadly led to the death of an innocent British woman, Dawn Sturgess.

“I congratulate the police and all those involved in identifying this third individual and in developing the evidence leading to charges against him.

“This is further confirmation that responsibility for this attack lies firmly in the hands of the Russian state.

“I urge the UK government to do all it can to bring the individuals concerned to justice.”

All three suspects had met in central London, says Priti Patel

14:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Sergey Fedotov entered the UK on a flight from Moscow to London Heathrow, and had stayed in a hotel in central London between 2 and 4 March 2018 before returning to Russia, Priti Patel said.

The Home Secretary told MPs: “While in the UK he met with Petrov and Boshirov on more than one occasion in central London.

“The CT policing investigation has identified and established that Fedotov is in fact Denis Sergeev and he’s also a member of the GRU, and that all three individuals previously worked together for the GRU as part of additional operations outside of Russia.

“All three men are now wanted by UK police. Arrest warrants are in place for all three. The police have applied for an Interpol notice against Fedotov mirroring those already in place against the other two suspects.”

The Metropolitan Police has called on people who might have seen the suspects between 2-4 March 2018 to get in touch by calling 0800 789 321.

Russia accuses UK of using Salisbury incident to 'increase anti-Russian feeling in British society’

14:22 , Joe Middleton

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, during press conference, told journalists: “For over 2.5 years, UK has used the Salisbury incident to deliberately worsen relations… using it as an instrument of pressure… to increase anti-Russian feeling in British society”.

“We condemn attempts to blame Russia. We are ready for the truth. Our position. Has not changed.

“We are trying to ascertain the truth and want exhaustive information from the UK, and to fulfil obligations to give us consulate access to our citizens”.

Alexander Litvinenko: Russia responsible for 2006 assassination of ex-spy, European court rules

14:53 , Joe Middleton

Russia was responsible for the assassination of ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko in the UK, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled.

The 43-year-old, who had worked for the Russian security services before defecting to the UK, died after drinking green tea laced with poison in London in 2006, writes The Independent’s Zoe Tidman.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday that Russia was behind his assassination, which was carried out at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair.

Russia responsible for assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, European court rules

PM demands Russia hand over novichok poisoning suspects

15:06 , Joe Middleton

Boris Johnson has urged Russia to hand over those responsible for the Salisbury novichok poisonings after new suspect Denis Sergeev was named today.

The Prime Minister told Sky News: “We do believe that all the suspects should be handed over for justice.”

He said Russia has already paid a “heavy price” over the poisoning, with the expulsion of diplomats, adding: “But they should recognise that our sense of justice must be done is not abated. Dawn Sturgess, an innocent member of the British public, died in that event and we want to see those suspects handed over.”

15:32 , Joe Middleton

16:03 , Joe Middleton

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