UK police charge 3rd Russian national in Skripal case

London, Sep 21 (EFE).- Police in the United Kingdom on Tuesday charged a third Russian national for his alleged involvement in the 2018 Novichok poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.

Counter-terror police said charges had been authorized against Sergey Fedotov, real name Denis Sergeev, adding that he was identified as a member of the Russian military intelligence service the GRU.

The two Russian men accused of carrying out the attack in Salisbury, southern England, Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, aliases for Anatoly Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin, are also members of the GRU, according to police evidence.

Former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia narrowly survived the Novichok poisoning in March 2018. Police officer Nick Bailey was hospitalized after the event and later forced to retire early.

Two other UK nationals were poisoned almost four months later when they reportedly discovered a discarded perfume bottle that contained Novichok and later sprayed it on themselves. Dawn Sturgess died as a result while the other victim survived.

Addressing the latest charge on Tuesday, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon of the counter-terror police said: “This marks another significant development in our investigation. Ever since these terrible incidents occurred, we were clear that we would be relentless in our investigation and our pursuit of justice for the victims of the attacks and their families.”

Police said Sergeev arrived in London from Moscow on March 2, 2018, traveling under the false name Sergey Fedotov. This was four hours prior to Petrov and Boshirov’s arrival in the UK, and two days before they allegedly carried out the attack.

The man identifying as Fedotov met with the two main suspects on “more than one occasion” in London during his stay and police evidence suggests all three had worked together with the GRU in operations outside Russia.

The charges against the third suspect include conspiracy to murder, attempted murder, causing grievous bodily harm and possession and use of a chemical weapon.

All three suspects are in Russia but UK police have secured Interpol arrest warrants for the two alleged hitmen and are in the process of applying for a warrant for Sergeev should they leave Russia. EFE

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