Kremlin denies Russia's involvement in ex-spy's poisoning

The suspects Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov charged in absentia with conspiracy to murder attempted murder and use of nerve agent Novichok

British authorities say they have enough evidence to charge two Russian men over the nerve-agent poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the English city of Salisbury.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the use of a chemical weapon in the city of Salisbury, which left a British woman dead and four people, including Skripal and his daughter, seriously ill, was carried out by officers of the GRU intelligence service and nearly certainly approved "at a senior level of the Russian state".

The council will meet in open session at around 11:30 am (1530 GMT), diplomats said.

Prime Minister Theresa May said police and prosecutors now believe the attack on Sergei Skripal was carried out by two Russian military intelligence officers who were nearly certainly acting with the approval of senior Russian officials.

She also said "novichok" which was a military grade nerve agent was planted by the two who were officers in the GRU, Russian military intelligence.

Javid described the GRU as a "very well-disciplined organization" that would "only act with orders from the highest level of the Russian government".

It goes without saying that there has to be close co-operation with technology companies, he said.

US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau earlier issued a joint statement with Theresa May agreeing with the British assessment that the operation was "almost certainly approved at a senior government level" in Moscow.

Russian defense and security analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said authorisation to attack the Skripals had also likely come "from the very top".

Russia claimed that there was nothing new in the UK's allegations and criticised the UK's account as a means to "unleash a disgusting anti-Russian hysteria".

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Britain has called a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the case on Thursday. They spent weeks hospitalized in critical condition and are now recovering in a secret location for their own protection.

Neil Basu, head of UK Counter Terrorism policing, said the plot was "a remarkably sophisticated attack" which appeared to be a clear assassination attempt.

He said of the "sickening and despicable" attack: "Unequivocally, crystal clear this was the act of the Russian state, two Russian nationals sent to Britain with the sole objective of carrying out a reckless assassination attempt".

Ms Sturgess died in hospital in July, just over a week after she and Mr Rowley fell ill.

Police said they arrived in Britain from Moscow on March 2 at London's Gatwick airport on an Aeroflot flight and left on March 4.

In a speech in October previous year, MI5 director general Andrew Parker referenced the agency's work "against espionage and other clandestine activity by Russian Federation and other foreign states who seek to do Britain harm".

Sue Hemming of the Crown Prosecution Service said Britain would not ask Moscow to extradite the men because Russian law forbids extradition of the country's citizens.

A senior adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin said he does not know the people named as suspects by the United Kingdom security services.

The officer continues to make good progress but remains off work, police said.

Ushakov pointed to the fact that British authorities mentioned that they think the men's names are aliases and wondered "why this has been done and what kind of a message" Britain is trying to send to the Russian government.

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