Canada backs British claims Russian officials approved spy's poisoning

British prosecutors to charge two Russians in U.K. nerve agent attack

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were left critically ill after being exposed to the military grade nerve agent Novichok.

A top Russian diplomat on Thursday denounced British accusations that Russian military intelligence agents poisoned a former spy in England, calling them base untruths aimed at whipping up hostility toward Moscow.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the names and images of the suspects released by Britain "say nothing to us".

Although the suspects had been identified as GRU agents Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov and arrest warrants had been issued, "the reality is we will probably never see them in the UK" because they were unlikely to leave Russian Federation again, Mr Javid acknowledged.

Prosecutors deem it futile to apply to Russian Federation for the extradition of the two men, but a European Arrest Warrant has been obtained and the authorities are also seeking the assistance of Interpol.

"We have, however, obtained a European Arrest Warrant which means that if either man travels to a country where an EAW is valid, they will be arrested and face extradition on these charges for which there is no statute of limitations".

Asked whether there would be retaliation for Russia's activities, particularly in cyber space, Mr Wallace said: "We do all the time, but we retaliate in our way".

Sergei Skripal was a granted refuge in the United Kingdom following a 2010 spy exchange between the US and Russian Federation.

"We, the leaders of France, Germany, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, reiterate our outrage at the use of a chemical nerve agent, known as Novichok, in Salisbury on 4 March", the statement said.

After trawling through thousands of hours of CCTV footage and separate material, police said they had tracked the men from their arrival at London's Gatwick airport to a budget hotel in east London - from which they carried out a reconnaissance mission in Salisbury on 3 March before returning the following day to carry out their assault and fleeing back to Moscow. A police officer, Nick Bailey, was also hospitalized. Russian Federation retaliated by expelling Western diplomats.

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Neil Basu, head of UK Counter Terrorism policing, said the plot was "a remarkably sophisticated attack" which appeared to be a clear assassination attempt.

Police say Petrov and Boshirov, both about 40, flew from Moscow to London on Russian passports two days before the Skripals were poisoned.

Basu added that photos were being released of the men in the hope that a member of the public would recognise them.

Police said Rowley and Sturgess had found a counterfeit Nina Ricci Premier Jour perfume bottle which tests later showed had contained Novichok.

More than three months later, the bottle was found by a local man, Charlie Rowley.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed Tuesday that Rowley and Sturgess were also exposed to Novichok.

"We can not account for the whereabouts of the bottle, nozzle or box between the attack on the Skripals on March 4 and when Charlie Rowley said he found it on Wednesday June 27".

Relations between Canada and Russian Federation have not been spared, with the two countries involved in various wars of words and tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions - including one round in March that was in direct response to the Salisbury attack.

The case has echoes of the murder of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

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