LONDON (AP) – British police said Tuesday they are indicting a third Russian suspect in a 2018 nerve agent attack on a former Russian agent in England.
Scotland Yard said prosecutors believe there is sufficient evidence to charge Denis Sergeyev, aka “Sergei Fedotov”, of conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, possession of chemical weapons and serious physical Went to do harm.
Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were targeted in a nerve agent attack in the English city of Salisbury in March 2018, which British officials said was almost certainly approved “at a senior level of the Russian state”. Was. Moscow has strongly denied the allegations.
Skripal survived, but the attack later claimed the life of a British woman and left a man and a police officer seriously ill.
Police first charged two other Russian military intelligence agents, known by their nicknames Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, of saying they had gone to the UK for a poison operation and then went back to Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that the suspects were civilians, and two suspects later appeared on Russian television claiming they had visited Salisbury as tourists.
Police said Tuesday they had evidence that the third suspect, Sergeev, was also a member of the Russian military intelligence service known as the GRU.
Arrest warrants have been issued against the three persons. Police said they would apply for an Interpol notice for Fedotov on Tuesday, but British prosecutors said they would not apply to Russia for Sergeev’s extradition because the Russian constitution does not allow the extradition of its own citizens.
Russia’s defense ministry, of which the GRU is part, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Hayden, a senior counter-terrorism officer leading the investigation, said the case has been one of the most complex cases the counter-terrorism team has ever tackled. He appealed to anyone who saw the three people in the UK in March 2018 to come forward.
Hayden said investigators gathered evidence that the three suspects “previously acted with each other and on behalf of the Russian state as part of operations outside Russia.”
“All three of them are dangerous individuals,” he said. “They have tried to murder people here in the UK, and they have also brought a very dangerous chemical weapon to the UK in an unknown way.”
Online investigative website Bellingcat previously reported that Sergeev was suspected of involvement in poisoning an arms manufacturer, his son and a factory manager in Bulgaria in 2015.
Skripal, a Russian military intelligence officer, became a double agent for Britain, and his daughter Yulia, who was visiting him, remained in critical condition for weeks after the attack.
Three months later, two local residents, who apparently picked up an abandoned perfume bottle that contained the nerve agent, fell ill. One was cured, but the other died. A police officer investigating the case also fell ill; He recovered but later left the force.
The case ignited a diplomatic confrontation in which hundreds of envoys were expelled by both Russia and the West.