United Kingdom 'ready to ask Russian Federation to extradite suspects in Novichok poisoning'

Shutterstock Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal Former Russian spy critically ill after suspected poisoning Salisbury UK- 08 Mar 2018

Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal

The Russian Embassy in Britain said on Monday it had not received an official request from London to extradite two men it suspects of carrying out a nerve agent attack on British soil, TASS news agency said, citing an embassy statement.

As it was reported earlier, ex-colonel of Russia's GRU, Chief Intelligence Department, Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia, poisoned in the center of Salisbury town in the evening of March 4, are still struggling for life in the intensive care unit of the local hospital.

The move is likely to continue the downward spiral of United Kingdom and Kremlin relations after a former Russian military intelligence colonel, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, were found unconscious in Salisbury from exposure to the Novichok nerve agent in March.

Britain has accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of personally ordering the attack on the Skripals, a claim denied by Moscow.

Any extradition request is likely to be rejected by Russian Federation - and risks inflaming diplomatic tensions between London and Moscow, which are the worst since the Cold War. It's nearly a rerun of the situation.

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Police have said they believe the two incidents are related, theorizing that perpetrators first smeared the Novichok on the door of Sergei Skripal's house and discarded the container, which Rowley later picked up and gave to Sturgess, who sprayed it on her wrists.

While the request is nearly certain to be rejected out of hand by the Russian authorities, it will likely reignite the bitter diplomatic row which erupted following the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in March.

Whitehall sources told the paper that authorities had identified two people they were ready to put on trial. Novichok was developed in the Soviet Union, but other countries have also experimented with the poison.

Dawn Sturgess subsequently died from Novichok near Salisbury.

The Russian constitution forbids the extradition of Russian citizens to another state.

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