BFF-41 UK releases new clips of Russian nerve agent attack suspects

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BFF-41

BRITAIN-ESPIONAGE-RUSSIA-POISON-LEAD

UK releases new clips of Russian nerve agent attack suspects

LONDON, Nov 23, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – British police have released CCTV footage
of two suspected Russian intelligence agents walking toward Sergei Skripal’s
home on the day of the former spy’s poisoning with a nerve agent.

The clips show the Russians — known by the aliases Alexander Petrov and
Ruslan Boshirov — appearing to take photographs on their arrival in the
English city of Salisbury on March 4.

Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped unconscious on a park
bench that same afternoon.

British police believe they were poisoned by a Soviet-era nerve agent
called Novichok designed by Moscow specifically to conduct assassinations
abroad.

Russia denies that the two men are members of its GRU military intelligence
service. It also says the Novichok could have come from a nearby British or
some other laboratory.

Nick Bailey, a British police officer who searched Skripal’s home after
the father and daughter were found, was also exposed to the nerve agent and
spent weeks in hospital.

In an interview with the BBC Panorama programme on Thursday, Bailey said
he knew something was wrong when his “pupils were like pin pricks” and he
became “quite sweaty and hot”.

“Knowing how the other two (the Skripals) were or how badly they’d been
affected by it, I was petrified,” said Bailey.

He said the substance could have killed “thousands” of people.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday repeated Russia’s denials and
said Britain had refused Moscow’s offer to assist in the investigation.

“We have no information on what exactly this substance was, we do not have
information on the quantity, on the person who poisoned, on what happened to
him, on what happened in general,” Peskov told reporters.

The Skripals survived but a local woman named Dawn Sturgess died after
picking up a discarded perfume bottle that police think was used to carry out
the attack.

Senior counterterrorism coordinator Dean Haydon said investigators were
trying to determine what happened to the perfume bottle between March 4 and
June 27, the day it was found.

“We remain as determined as ever to identify and bring to justice all
those responsible for the reckless acts that left four people critically ill
and, tragically, saw Dawn Sturgess lose her life,” Haydon said in a statement
late Thursday.

Police said one of the new CCTV clips shows the two suspects walking in
the vicinity of Skripal’s home address “just prior to when detectives believe
the nerve agent was placed on the door handle”.

Detectives released the footage as part of an appeal for witnesses.

Investigators think the two sprayed the handle of the main door of
Skripal’s home with Novichok before tossing the perfume bottle on the street.

BSS/AFP/RY/1950 hrs