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Russia seeks to quickly identify suspects in Skripal case, hopes for London’s help

Scotland Yard released photos supposedly showing the two Russians who had allegedly poisoned the Skripals

MOSCOW, September 7. /TASS/.

Russia wants to identify suspects in the Salisbury poisoning case as quickly and efficiently as possible and hopes for the UK’s assistance, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Friday.

"There is the need to find out who these people are, if there are such citizens. This needs to be established, this is an issue for checks. We want to do this as quickly and efficiently as possible and that’s why we again ask the United Kingdom to help identify these persons, as information [about the suspects] was published," she said.

"If the UK refuses to do this, we will have to go a longer way," Zakharova added.

On Wednesday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May briefed the parliament about the secret services’ conclusions regarding investigation of the March 4, 2018, alleged poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer convicted in Russia for spying for the UK Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England. The conclusion is they had become targets of a special operation by agents of the Russian military intelligence service GRU.

May claimed the operation "was almost certainly also approved outside […] at a senior level of the Russian state".

Scotland Yard released photos supposedly showing the two Russians who had allegedly poisoned the Skripals. The official story made public by the British authorities suggests the two men entered the country 48 hours before the poisoning. They held official Russian passports issued in the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. Police stress that these are most likely false names.

The UK government claims Sergei and Yulia Skripal survived exposure to a nerve agent from the class of agents tentatively codenamed Novichok. The British authorities immediately came up with the allegations that Russia was ‘highly likely’ behind the poisoning. Moscow strongly denies any assertions regarding the development and production of Novichok-class agents in the former USSR or in the Russian Federation.

Experts from the UK defense science and technology laboratory at Porton Down have been unable to identify the origins of the substance Sergei and Yulia Skripal were exposed to.