Three years later and after the incident had all but fallen into obscurity, the UK charged in absentia a third Russian suspect with the “2018 Novichok murder attempt” of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
In September 2018, British prosecutors charged two Russians, then identified by the aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, with conspiracy to murder Skripal and the attempted murder of Yulia and a British police officer, Nick Bailey.
Overall, the entire incident was a complete fiasco, as the UK provided no evidence, apart from that provided by the Bellingcat “investigative” website.
Dean Haydon, the UK’s Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, said prosecutors had now authorized them to charge a third man, Sergey Fedotov, who was aged about 50, with the same offences.
Haydon also said Petrov and Boshirov were really named Alexander Mishkin and Anatoliy Chepiga, and that Fedotov’s true identity was Denis Sergeev.
According to the brand-new version of events that the UK came up with, it was a three-man team which had carried out operations on behalf of the Russian state in other countries, and there had been discussions with Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, he said, the first time that the police had categorically identified them as Russian spies.
“We can’t go into the detail of how, but we have the evidence that links them to the GRU,” Haydon told reporters, describing them as highly-trained. “All three of them are dangerous individuals.”
As with the other two Russians, British police had obtained an arrest warrant for Fedotov and they were applying for Interpol notices against him, he said.
The police announcement came on the same day that the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia was responsible for the 2006 killing of ex-KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko who was poisoned at a London hotel with Polonium 210, a rare radioactive isotope.
British police say Petrov and Boshirov carried out the Skripal attack while Fedotov met them several times over the weekend of March 2-4 when the poisoning occurred.
After they were accused by Britain, Boshirov and Petrov appeared on Russian TV to say they were tourists who had travelled to Salisbury to do some sightseeing.
“There’s the famous Salisbury Cathedral. It’s famous not only in Europe, but in the whole world. It’s famous for its 123 metre-spire,” Boshirov said.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Is Super-Duper ‘Novichok’ Only Effective At Leading To More Sanctions?
- US Openly Accuses Kremlin Of Using ‘Novichok’ To Poison Navalny As New Round Of Sanctions Introduced