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Russians accused of carrying out Salisbury attack reportedly posed as businessmen to obtain visas

British authorities have issued arrest warrants for two suspected members of Russian military intelligence.

CCTV image of Russian Nationals Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov
CCTV image of Russian Nationals Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov
Image: Metropolitan Police

TWO RUSSIANS ACCUSED of trying to kill former spy Sergei Skripal with a nerve agent posed as businessmen to obtain visas to visit Britain, according to reports.

British authorities have issued European arrest warrants for Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, two suspected members of Russian military intelligence.

The pair are accused of trying to kill Skripal and his daughter Yulia with Novichok in the city of Salisbury on March 4, which Britain believes was sanctioned by the Kremlin.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper, citing an unnamed security source, said the two men posed as businessmen to obtain their visas from the British consulate in Saint Petersburg.

They reportedly told authorities they were working in international trade, and both produced business cards and details of their bank accounts to prove they qualified for a visa.

Police say the men travelled on Russian passports under the names Petrov and Boshirov, but that these are almost certainly aliases.

The Daily Telegraph added that their true names are known to security services.

‘Repeated lies’

The Skripals recovered, as did a British policeman who fell ill after working on the case.

But a fake perfume bottle containing Novichok was picked up weeks later by a local man, Charlie Rowley, who give it to his girlfriend, Dawn Sturgess.

They both became ill and she later died.

The British government has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of responsiblity for the attack, something Moscow has strongly denied.

Yesterday, the United States, Canada, France and Germany issued a statement supporting the claim that two Russian agents were responsible for the poisoning.

And at the UN Security Council a few hours later, where Britain laid out its findings, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said everyone should be “chilled to the bone” by what happened.

However, Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused Britain of spreading “the same repeated lies” and presenting an “unfounded mendacious cocktail of facts”.

“The Russian Federation categorically rejects all unfounded accusations regarding its involvement,” he said.

After the attack in March, Britain and its allies expelled dozens of Russian diplomats, prompting Moscow to respond in kind, while the United States later introduced sanctions in relation to the incident.

In a speech in Washington late on Thursday, the head of Britain’s GCHQ spy agency said the threat from Russia would be “countered by a strong international partnership of allies”.

© AFP 2018  

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