British police charge third man in attempt to kill Russian dissident


British authorities said on Tuesday that they… sue a third man in connection with the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei V. Skripal, who was poisoned in England in 2018.

The new developments in that case came on the same day that the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia was responsible for the 2006 murder of Alexander V. Litvinenko, who was poisoned with a radioactive isotope in a London hotel.

In the 2018 case, British police said they charged Denis Sergeev for the attempted murder of Mr Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. The pair were found slumped on a couch in the southern England town of Salisbury, and later found to have been poisoned with a nerve agent, Novichok.

Two other men – who traveled under aliases – have already been charged. British police have confirmed their real names as Anatoliy Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin for the first time.

None of the suspects have been arrested. And after the first two men were charged, they appeared on Russian television to deny any role in the attack. They claimed they were visiting England as tourists eager to see the cathedral in Salisbury.

Dean Haydon, the Metropolitan Police’s assistant commissioner and senior national counter-terrorism coordinator, told reporters that “the three were operating as a small team with a view to deploying Novichok to kill individuals in this country.”

“I can prove that they were operating here as a unit linked to the GRU,” he said, referring to the Russian spy agency. “We remain as determined as ever to bring those responsible to justice.”

There were ominous similarities between Mr. Litvinenko’s murder with a radioactive isotope and the nerve agent attack that killed Mr. Skripal more than a decade later. For many who criticized the Kremlin, the attacks underscored how far Russia’s President Vladimir V. Putin would go to retaliate against critics.

Mr. Skripal’s poisoning sparked a Cold War-style confrontation between Russia and the West, when British officials accused Russia of sending two hitmen to smear Mr. was denied.

At the time, British intelligence chiefs said they had identified the men as members of the GRU, the same Russian military intelligence unit where Mr Skripal once worked.

The new charges came on the same day the EU human rights court concluded that Mr Litvinenko’s killers in 2006 were acting as “agents of the Russian state”. The ruling supported a separate investigation by Britain that found “strong circumstantial evidence” that Mr Putin and his then-espionage chief, Nikolai Patrushev, had authorized an operation to kill Mr Litvinenko, using a dangerous and rare isotope, polonium. 210.

Mr Litvinenko was a former colonel in the FSB, the domestic successor to the Soviet-era KGB, who fled Russia in 2000 via Georgia and Turkey to seek asylum in Britain, where he became a whistleblower and vitriolic critic of the Mr Litvinenko became. Putin.

He died in November 2006, weeks after drinking green tea with polonium 210 at London’s Millennium Hotel.

A lengthy British investigation concluded in 2016 that Andrei K. Lugovoi, a former KGB bodyguard, and Dmitri V. Kovtun, a Red Army deserter, poisoned Mr. Litvinenko.

While the 328-page report was damning, it cited no hard evidence that Mr. Putin or Mr. Patrushev knew about or approved of the plot to kill Mr. Litvinenko.

Russia has denied any involvement in Mr Litvinenko’s murder.

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