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UK police charge third Russian suspect in nerve agent poisoning of ex-spy

Published: Updated:

British police said Tuesday they are charging a third Russian suspect in the 2018 nerve agent attack on a former Russian agent in England.

Scotland Yard said prosecutors believe there is sufficient evidence to charge a man known as Sergey Fedotov with conspiracy to murder, attempted murder, possessing and using a chemical weapon, and causing grievous bodily harm.

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Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were targeted in a nerve agent attack in 2018 in Salisbury, England, that British authorities said had almost certainly approved been “at a senior level of the Russian state.” Moscow has vehemently denied the allegations.

Police said they have evidence that “Sergey Fedotov” is an alias for Denis Sergeev, a member of the Russian military intelligence service known as the GRU.

Police previously charged two other Russian military intelligence agents, named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, and accused them of traveling to the U.K. for the poisoning operation. Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed the suspects were civilians.

Arrest warrants have been issued for all three men. Police said they will apply for Interpol notices for Fedotov on Tuesday. Police said the three suspects had previously worked together for the GRU “as part of operations outside of Russia.”

The Skripals survived, but the attack later claimed the life of British resident Dawn Sturgess, who came into contact with a perfume bottle believed to have been used in the attack and then discarded. Her partner also fell seriously ill from his contact with the nerve agent Novichok but recovered.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, who has been leading the investigation, said the case has been one of the most complex ever undertaken by the counter-terror team. He appealed for anyone who had seen the three men in the U.K. in March 2018 to come forward.

“Whilst public attention gradually moved away from what happened in Salisbury and Amesbury, the investigation team has remained absolutely focused, meticulously poring over the evidence and building our case,” he said in a statement.

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