Putin acted to hide freelance spies days before Novichok attack

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British authorities say they have enough evidence to charge two Russian men over the nerve-agent poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today program, Wallace went further than Prime Minister Theresa May's assertion that the attack "was nearly certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state".

Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement and some Russian officials have suggested the British security services carried out that attack to stoke anti-Moscow hysteria.

Scotland Yard has released extraordinary details on the movements of two men, who they believe are operating under the aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, and are both aged about 40.

In a joint statement, the other four countries said they backed Britain's assessment that Russian officers were behind a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter using Novichok after London charged two Russians in absentia.

"We will not be applying to Russia for the extradition of these men as the Russian constitution does not permit extradition of its own nationals", the Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement.

The CPS said that they have however obtained a European arrest warrant (EAW) which means that if either suspect travels to a country where the EAW is valid, they would be arrested and forced to face extradition on the charges against them.

"Show us that he is alive", Victoria said.

United Kingdom's United Nations Ambassador Karen Pierce, far right, and Sweden's U.N. Ambassador Olof Skoog, center, listens as Russia's United Nations Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya, left, speaks during a meeting of the Security Council, Thursday Sept. 6, 2018 at U.N. headquarters.

Sergei Skripal, 67, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were found collapsed on a bench in Salisbury, 90 miles (145 kilometres) southwest of London.

Det Sgt Nick Bailey also fell ill after responding to the incident in Salisbury.

British authorities and the worldwide chemical weapons watchdog say the victims were exposed to Novichok, a type of military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

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The service is one of the main Russian intelligence agencies born after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

According to the Met Police, the two suspects arrived at Gatwick Airport, near London, from Moscow on March 2 and stayed at the City Stay Hotel in east London before travelling to Salisbury on March 4, where Skripal's front door was contaminated with Novichok. Two swabs returned a positive reading for Novichok contamination, but at such low levels that the next time police swabbed the room, no traces were detected.

Police released images of a counterfeit Nina Ricci Premier Jour pink perfume box and bottle with a modified nozzle that was used to secrete the military-grade nerve agent into Britain.

Her partner Charlie Rowley was also poisoned but survived.

He was hospitalised and his girlfriend Dawn Sturgess died after being exposed to the contents.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a global watchdog, on Tuesday confirmed that Novichok was involved in their poisoning.

Rowley tried to put the two parts of the bottle together at home on June 30, during which he got some of the poison on himself.

Two Russian nationals have been named over the novichok poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

The bottle contained Novichok and Sturgess later died in hospital. Britain spent years trying in vain to prosecute the prime suspects, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun.

He said: "Ultimately he does, in so far as he is the president of the Russian Federation and it is his government which controls funds and directs the military intelligence, the GRU, via his ministry of defence".

But he added that "the manner in which the bottle and packaging has been adapted makes it a ideal cover for smuggling the weapon into the country, and a flawless delivery method for the attack against the Skripal's front door".