Police in Czechia hunting two men over Salisbury Novichok attack

Police in the Czech Republic are chasing down two men whose passports match the names of Russian nationals suspected of Novichok poisoning in Salisbury.

The UK government said it was “fully on the side” of the Czech Republic after authorities released photos of two foreign citizens who visited the country in 2014 and asked the public for information about them.

The two used Russian passports and were identified as Alexander Petrov (41) and Ruslan Boshirov (43).

It came when the Czech Republic said it would evict 18 Russian diplomats whom it identified as spies in a case related to a giant ammunition depot explosion in the city of Vrbetice in 2014.

Petrov and Boshirov are wanted by police in the UK after prosecutors brought charges against them in connection with the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal on March 4, 2018 in Salisbury.

Speaking of the latest developments in the Czech Republic, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said: “Britain fully stands for our Czech allies who have shown the efforts that Russian intelligence services will make in their attempts to conduct dangerous and malicious operations in Europe.

“We remain determined and committed to bringing those responsible for the Salisbury attack to justice and to praising the efforts of the Czech authorities to do the same.

“Russia must refrain from these actions, which violate the most basic international norms.”

Czech police said the two men visited the country between October 11-16, 2014, and also visited the capital Prague and another northeastern Czech region.

They said the suspects also used passports that Moldova issued to Nicolai Popa and one that Tajikistan issued to Ruslan Tabarov.

Two victims were killed in an explosion on October 16, 2014 in a depot in the city of Vrbetice where 50 tons of ammunition were stored.

Another explosion of 13 tons of ammunition occurred in the depot on December 3 of the same year.

Mr Skripal, a former Russian spy who became MI6’s double agent, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia survived the Novichok attack in Salisbury, but the incident later claimed the lives of Dawn Sturgess after coming into contact with a perfume bottle that were believed to have been used in the attack before being discarded.

The suspects were videotaped the day before the Salisbury attack.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement, and President Vladimir Putin alleged the two suspects were civilians.

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