Russia will not expel the Salisbury suspects, says former Head of Counter Terrorism

Russia will not expel the Salisbury suspects, says former Head of Counter Terrorism

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Chris Phillips has said that “countries around the world will come together” but that “forcing Russia to expel the people back to the UK is not going to happen”.

Mr Phillips, the former head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “It almost certainly was sanctioned by the Russian government because simply the people are coming over and the fact that they are using bona fide Russian passports which almost certainly aren’t their own.

“It kind of tells us that no only did we know before that Novichok has almost certainly come from Russian sources but this almost confirms everything we have been saying for the last six months.”

Police and Prosecutors have said there is sufficient evidence to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov with conspiring to murder Sergei Skripal and attempting to murder the ex-Russian spy, his daughter Yulia and Wiltshire Police detective sergeant Nick Bailey.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said the two suspects are aged around 40 and it is likely they were travelling under aliases and Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names.

Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in March by the nerve agent Novichok.

 

‘We have hit an impasse’

Mr Phillips added: “I think we have now hit the impasse, you have got the people who are actually responsible for it being held to account.

“I think the embarrassment factor that these supposedly professional secret agents have actually been exposed will be a big thing in Russia.

“I think we have hit an impasse, there is not much more that you can do.

“The countries around the world will come together and say that this is a terrible thing but actually forcing Russia to expel the people back to the UK is not going to happen.”

The Prime Minister Theresa May told MPs investigations had concluded that the two suspects are members of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service, and that it was not a “rogue operation”.

Mrs May did not explicitly blame the Kremlin for authorising the attempted murder of Mr Skripal.

Moscow has repeatedly denied claims that Russia was behind the attack in March.

President Putin’s foreign policy advisor, Yuri Ushakov, told reporters in Moscow that the names of the suspects “do not mean anything to me”.