British prosecutors said Wednesday they have a European arrest warrant for two Russians suspected of a nerve agent attack on a former spy in the city of Salisbury.
Police identified Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov as the men who allegedly tried to kill Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with Novichok in March.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it would not apply for their extradition, as Russia has made clear in previous cases that it did not extradite its nationals.
“We have, however, obtained a European arrest warrant (EAW),” said CPS director of legal services, Sue Hemming.
“(This) means that if either man travels to a country where an EAW is valid, they will be arrested and face extradition on these charges for which there is no statute of limitations,” which means the charges never expire.
London and its allies blamed the Russian state for the attack, sparking a wave of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions on both sides, while the US imposed sanctions.
A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry said Wednesday it had no knowledge of Petrov or Boshirov, and accused British authorities of manipulating information in the case.
“We once again call on the British side to switch from public accusations and manipulating information to practical cooperation through law enforcement agencies,” Russian news agencies quoted spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying.