Vladimir Putin ultimately responsible for alleged nerve agent attack, says United Kingdom minister

Vladimir Putin ultimately responsible for alleged nerve agent attack, says United Kingdom minister

Prosecutor Sue Hemming said the United Kingdom is not asking Moscow to extradite the men because Russian law forbids extradition of the country's citizens.

Russian Federation must rein in the activities of its military intelligence officers and account for their actions, May said.

The UK this week identified the men as Russian intelligence officers and said President Vladimir Putin was "ultimately" responsible for the March attack.

British prosecutors have charged the two men with the attack on the Skripals, but acknowledge that Russian Federation will not extradite them.

"The GRU is a highly disciplined organization with a well-established chain of command, so this was not a rogue operation", May said.

She told Parliament on Wednesday: "The manner in which the bottle was modified leaves no doubt it was a cover for smuggling the weapon into the country, and for the delivery method for the attack against the Skripals' front door".

"We have full confidence in the British assessment that the two suspects were officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU, and that this operation was nearly certainly approved at a senior government level", the statement said, adding that the countries urged Russia to provide "full disclosure of its Novichok program".

Mrs May said 250 detectives had trawled through 11,000 hours of CCTV and taken more than 1400 statements to come to their conclusion.

Earlier on Wednesday, as word leaked out that the British prime minister might be making a statement related to the nerve agent attack, the Russian foreign ministry responded by posting a satirical video on its official Twitter and Facebook accounts, which compared May's awkward dancing on a recent trip to Africa with Zakharova's own ability on the dancefloor.

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Former GRU officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were left critically ill after being exposed to the military grade nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury in March. His partner Ms Sturgess applied some of the contents to her wrists and became unwell. Police said they were aged in their 40s and had travelled on Russian passports arriving at Britain's Gatwick airport at 3pm on Friday, March 2 on Aeroflot flight SU2588 from Moscow.

They also released images of them captured at Salisbury train station on March 3 in what they allege was a reconnaissance mission.

Basu said Novichok was sprayed on the front door of Skripal's house in Salisbury, where the two men were sighted on CCTV nearby. "We are also seeking to circulate Interpol Red Notices", said Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the UK's National Lead for Counter Terrorism Policing.

Basu said traces of Novichok contamination were found in the London hotel room where the two men had stayed.

The CPS said the pair faced charges of conspiracy to murder Skripal, and the attempted murder of him, his daughter and Nick Bailey, a policeman injured in the attack.

They are also charged with use and possession of Novichok, contrary to the Chemical Weapons Act.

The Kremlin says Russia is not investigating the two men that Britain has named as suspects in the nerve agent attack on a Russian ex-spy.

"We've got to make sure that people who have struck a deal with Putin over the last 10, 15 years - where the deal went, Putin gets the power and you get the money - realize the deal doesn't work anymore because the money is worthless", he said.

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