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Did Salisbury poisoning suspects spied on Skripal in Czech Republic in 2014?

ANI  |  Prague [Czech Republic] 

The Prague-based broadcaster reported on Wednesday, citing sources, that Russian citizens and accused by UK authorities of poisoning former double agent and his daughter in the town of Salisbury, secretly visited the in October 2014, where Skripal himself was supposed to arrive at the same time to meet with officers.

According to the broadcaster, it looks like "the Russians had a special group" and followed Skripal well before "attempting to kill him."

The sources cited by the broadcaster said that Skripal visited the to assist local intelligence with the discovery of possible Russian spies in the country. The sources are convinced that Boshirov and Petrov already tracked Skripal at that time, the publication claimed.

According to the publication, Petrov lived in a hotel in the city of in the country's northeast from October 13 to October 16, 2014, and then moved to Prague, while Boshirov visited on October 11, 2014. The broadcaster added that the presence of the two Russian citizens in the was probed both by the local intelligence and the (NCOZ). However, due to the fact that the Skripal case is being under investigation throughout Europe, no one in the Czech Republic commented on this information, including the (BIS) and the NCOZ, the said.

Russian Embassy in told the publication that the questions about crossing the border of the Czech Republic by citizens of other states are within the competence of the relevant Czech authorities.

In early September, UK prosecutors charged Petrov and Boshirov with the attempted murder of the in the UK city of in March. UK expressed a belief that the suspects worked for the Staff of the Russian Armed Forces (formerly known as the GRU), albeit without providing any evidence.

In late September, Bellingcat claimed that it could "definitely confirm" that Petrov and Boshirov are active GRU officers. Such an assumption was explained by the fact that their internal passport under these names were issued in 2009, while no records allegedly exist for these individuals prior to this year. Later that month, the group in cooperation with The Insider claimed that they had identified Boshirov as Russian

Russian has said that "the Directorate of the has no departments that were subordinates of the GRU or someone else." He added that it was impossible to understand whether a person works in the GRU just by looking at the migration service's database. The Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, has also criticized the materials issued by Bellingcat.

has repeatedly denied all accusations in the Skripal case, saying it was falling apart due to the lack of evidence proving the purported Russian involvement. The has sent some 60 diplomatic notes to the demanding that be given access to the investigation and the Skripals, as well as proposing legal assistance and cooperation, including on the joint inquiry. The UK authorities have not responded to any of these notes.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, October 10 2018. 20:25 IST