The British government is planning to seek the extradition from Russia of two suspects identified as the would-be assassins who carried out the nerve agent attack in Salisbury on a former Russian agent and his daughter, British media claimed Tuesday.
The report comes after it was revealed last month that investigators believed they had identified the suspected perpetrators of the attack and were sure they were Russian.
But it says that an extradition request is expected to be rejected by Russian Federation.
A Whitehall source told the Guardian: 'The CPS has been asked to prepare extradition requests and we understand they are ready to go.
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. The UK said they were poisoned by a Soviet-designed nerve agent and blamed Moscow for the attack, but was unable to produce any proof to support its allegation.
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The Crown Prosecution Service prepared the extradition request and has completed the process for filing, the sources said. "It's nearly a rerun of the situation", The Guardian quoted a government source as saying. Moscow refused to extradite Russians in accordance with the Constitution.
Police believe the Novichok was smeared on the door of Sergei Skripal's house and perhaps discarded in a container that Sturgess's boyfriend Charlie Rowley then picked up. She had been in hospital for eight days.
Rowley said he had found a perfume bottle which he gave to Sturgess, which she sprayed on her wrists.
In 2007, President Vladimir Putin rejected an extradition request for two Russians suspected of the assassination of the former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko in London using radioactive polonium.