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Third Russian charged over Novichok poisoning of defector and daughter

London: A third Russian military intelligence officer has been charged with attempted murder over the Novichok poisoning of Russian defector Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in England three years ago.

Scotland Yard had already charged two Russian military intelligence officers, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, over the attempted assassination of the Skripals, who were found unconscious and slumped on a public bench in the southern English city of Salisbury in March 2018.

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.Credit:AP

They and a police officer who went to his house were left critically ill in hospital from exposure to the military-grade nerve agent.

A local woman, Dawn Sturgess, later also died from Novichok poisoning after her partner found a counterfeit perfume bottle which police believe had been used to smuggle the poison into the country.

On Tuesday, counter-terrorism police said they had enough evidence to charge a third Russian military intelligence officer named Sergey Fedotov, an alias for Denis Sergeev.

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Fedotov arrived at London’s Gatwick Airport from Moscow about 11am on March 2, 2018 about four hours before Petrov and Boshirov, the pair who travelled to Salisbury, a town about 130 kilometres south-west of London, to carry out the attempted assassination of the Skripals. They later claimed they had visited the English town to see the local Cathedral’s famous spire.

Fedetov stayed in a central London hotel for the weekend and met Petrov and Boshirov more than once during that weekend before returning to Moscow from Heathrow about 2pm on Sunday,

He faces charges of conspiracy to murder, attempted murder, possession and use of chemical weapon and causing grievous bodily harm.

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