London, July 19: Investigators have reportedly identified the suspects who were behind the Novichok attack on Sergei Skripal, the former Russian spy, and his daughter Yulia. The suspects, identified by CCTV, are Russian nationals, investigators told the Press Association. The alleged assassination plot triggered a fierce diplomatic row between the UK government and Russia, which has consistently denied allegations that it was behind the poisoning.
“Investigators believe they have identified the suspected perpetrators of the Novichok attack through CCTV and have cross-checked this with records of people who entered the country around that time. They (the investigators) are sure they (the suspects) are Russian," a source was quoted as saying by the PA. Sergei Skripal was found slumped on a bench on March 4 along with his daughter Yulia after being exposed to military-grade nerve agent Novichok.
After the poisoning, the UK government expelled 23 Russian diplomats who had been declared as unidentified intelligence officers. In 2006, Skripal, a former Russian colonel, was jailed in Russia for 13 years for passing on the identities of Russian spies in Europe to the UK intelligence services. But in 2010 he was part of a prisoner swap between Moscow and the US. He eventually settled in Salisbury.
Earlier, MI5 Director General Andrew Parker publicly blamed Russia for the "reckless" poisoning, accusing the Kremlin of "flagrant breaches of international rules".