British police officials have identified several Russians who they say are behind the Novichok nerve agent attack on the former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, according to U.K. news agency Press Association (PA).
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The new information stems from an analysis of security camera footage, a PA source involved in the investigation said.
“They [the investigators] are sure that they (the suspects) are Russian,” the source told PA, adding that the footage has been cross-checked with details of people who had entered the country around the same time.
But the Russian ambassador to the U.K. has said the British have not shared information on the case or whether the suspects have, indeed, been identified as Russians.
Alexander Yakovenko “wanted to hear it from Scotland Yard or the Foreign Office,” he told Russian news agency Interfax.
He added, “We still work with official information, not with press reports. We want to hear this information from official London, not from the media.”
British security minister Ben Wallace shared his skepticism in a tweet Thursday:
I think this story belongs in the “ill informed and wild speculation folder”
— Ben Wallace MP (@BWallaceMP) July 19, 2018
The Metropolitan Police Service has not commented on the reports.
The Skripals fell unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, Wiltshire, March 4. A British investigation concluded that Russia was responsible for the attack, identifying the substance involved as a Novichok nerve agent, which is a military-grade chemical dating back to the Soviet era.
Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement.
Two British people also fell ill June 30 after suspected exposure to the same nerve agent in a small town close to the city of Salisbury.
Dawn Sturgess, 44, died a week after exposure to the chemical. Her partner, Charlie Rowley, 45, is recovering but receiving treatment in the hospital in Salisbury.
An inquest into her death heard Thursday that she never regained consciousness after being contaminated by Novichok, and medical staff made the decision to turn off her life support on the day of her death.
Stephanie Sturgess, her sister, had made her goodbyes that day after being informed of the medical staff’s plans to turn off her oxygen, she said in a statement.
The inquest also heard that the bottle believed to be the source of the British pair’s exposure was made out of glass.