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UK preparing to ask Moscow for Novichok suspects: report

AFP  |  London 

The is preparing to ask to extradite two Russian citizens suspected of carrying out the attack, a media report said today.

newspaper, citing unnamed government and security sources, said state prosecutors had prepared the extradition request and were ready to file it to

It said police and intelligence agents had identified two Russians believed to have carried out the attack on former Russian double agent and his daughter in March.

The pair were poisoned by Novichok, a military-grade developed by the during the Cold War, in the southwestern English city of

Both survived, but on June 30 a British couple were poisoned by Novichok in a nearby town, one of whom, 44-year-old mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess, subsequently died.

and its allies have accused of trying to kill the Skripals and says the two cases are likely linked.

has angrily rejected any involvement, plunging diplomatic relations into crisis.

Any extradition request put to is likely to be rebuffed, and said there had been intense debate within the about whether to bother trying.

In 2007, after Russian ex-was murdered with polonium in London, Moscow refused Britain's request to extradite two Russian suspects in the case.

England's state prosecutors, (CPS), declined to comment on The Guardian's story when contacted by AFP, while police said only that the investigation was ongoing.

Britain's domestic agency reported last month that police had identified two Russian suspects in the attack, but there has been no official confirmation of this.

An unnamed government source told The Guardian: "The CPS has been asked to prepare extradition requests and we understand they are ready to go. "This is Litvinenko all over again. It's almost a rerun of the situation.

The police have managed to identify the people coming over and going back again." Police believe the Novichok was smeared on the door of Sergei Skripal's house and perhaps discarded in a container that Sturgess's boyfriend then picked up.

Rowley said he had found a perfume bottle which he gave to Sturgess, which she sprayed on her wrists. She died eight days later, but he has since been released from hospital.

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

First Published: Mon, August 06 2018. 23:31 IST