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Russian Federation calls on United Kingdom to help identify poisoning suspects

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Metropolitan PoliceA surveillance image shows both suspects at Salisbury train station at 4:11

Britain and its allies will deploy a "full range of tools" against Russia after London accused two Russian agents of carrying out the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, a British spy chief said on Thursday.

The City Stay Hotel, where Russian suspects Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov stayed, is pictured in Bow, east London, on September 5, 2018.

On Wednesday British Prime Minister Theresa May said two Russian spies identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov carried out the nerve agent attack.

Wallace's statement goes further than that of May, who did not explicitly blame Putin in her statement to parliament, stating: "The GRU is a highly disciplined organisation with a well-established chain of command. It was nearly certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state".

Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, 145 kilometres southwest of London, on March 4.

Police released images of the two men.

The Russian charge d'affaires in London was summoned to the Foreign Office to be told Britain wanted those responsible to be brought to justice.

A RUSSIAN spy wanted for the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal reportedly had visited Britain nearly exactly one year before the Novichok attack in Salisbury.

Moscow strongly denies involvement in the attack, and Russian officials said they didn't recognize the suspects. "I don't understand why this was done and what sort of signal the British side is sending".

Britain and dozens of other countries have kicked out Russian diplomats over the incident, and Moscow has responded tit-for-tat in the biggest diplomatic expulsions since the Cold War.

"We got a swift response in March and we have done so again and we are thankful for that support", he said.

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But assistant police commissioner Neil Basu conceded it was "very, very unlikely" police would be in a position to arrest them any time soon.

The Crown Prosecution Service says Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, likely not their real names but the ones given on their passports when they entered the United Kingdom, are charged in absentia with conspiracy to murder, attempted murder and use of the nerve agent Novichok.

They spent weeks critically ill in hospital but have since been discharged.

The suspects made two trips to Salisbury before flying back to Moscow from Heathrow Airport on the evening of March 4, hours after the Skripals were poisoned, police said.

Police said they were still not absolutely certain that the bottle found by Rowley was the bottle used to apply Novichok to Sergei Skripal's front door.

The offences include conspiracy to murder Sergei Skripal; the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal, Yulia Skripal and police officer Nick Bailey; the use and possession of Novichok contrary to the Chemical Weapons Act; and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Yulia Skripal and Detective Sergent Nick Bailey.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it would not apply for their extradition, as Russian Federation had made clear in previous cases that it did not extradite its nationals.

They said the pair had previously travelled to Britain under these identities and had legitimate reasons for their visas, though did not say what type of visa they had.

Prosecutors did not release charges relating to the death of Dawn Sturgess, a woman who died in the Salisbury region after coming into contact with a discarded Novichok bottle several months after the Skripal poisonings, nor to the poisoning of her partner Charlie Rowley, who survived.

Novichok was found in a counterfeit perfume bottle that police found in Mr Rowley's house.

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