On 5 September 2018, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced to the House of Commons that Scotland Yard has managed to identity those responsible for poisoning Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia, an incident which also affected a police officer. [1].

The British authorities are holding two Russians (see photo), responsible for these events. They have been identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslán Boshirov (both very common Christian names and surnames in Russia). They arrived from Moscow at Gatwick airport, on 2 March at 3 p.m. and returned to Moscow two days later, on 4 March at around 22.30.

The United Kingdom issued European arrest warrants but has not asked Russia to extradite them. The Russian Constitution prohibits the extradition of its citizens.

The immediate response of the government of the Russian Federation was that it did not know these persons. It also asked London to send the biometrics of the suspects given that the visa process for Russian nationals to enter the UK requires applicants to register their biometrics.

Theresa May’s government refused to satisfy Moscow’s request. This makes it impossible to search in Russia for those culpable. It also rules out any chance of verifying the accusations that the British government made.

During the 19th and 20th century, there were a number of instances when London used false evidence to hurl all types of accusations at Moscow. For example, in 1924, the Conservatives denounced a false attempt by the Soviet Union to influence the British elections [2].

Anoosha Boralessa

[1Theresa May statement on the Salisbury investigation”, by Theresa May, Voltaire Network, 5 September 2018.

[2About the Zinoviev Telegram, see : “The Skripal Affair: A Lie Too Far?”, by Michael Jabara Carley, Strategic Culture Foundation (Russia) , Voltaire Network, 23 April 2018.