UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said that she intends to raise the issue of an extradition request for the two Salisbury poisoning suspects at the talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the G20 summit sidelines in Osaka.
“I’m going to make absolutely clear the position the UK takes in relation to what happened in Salisbury. We believe these individuals should be brought to justice”, May added, as quoted by the newspaper.
She noted that London was aware of Moscow’s long-standing policy of not extraditing its nationals.
“But there are European arrest warrants out for these individuals and if they step foot outside Russia then we will be making every effort to ensure that they are brought to justice”, she pointed out.
Earlier in the week, Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov announced that Putin and May would meet on Friday, adding that Moscow would welcome any opportunity to improve bilateral relations. May’s spokesperson, in turn, said that the upcoming talks did not amount to the normalisation of ties, noting however that London was open to a “different relationship” with Moscow.
Russian-UK relations soured last year after former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench near a shopping centre in UK’s Salisbury. Prior to the launch of an investigation, London has claimed they were poisoned with a military-grade A234 nerve agent and accused Moscow of staging the attack, which provoked a huge international scandal.
Moscow has categorically dismissed the accusations, pointing to the absence of any evidence and London’s rejection of its requests to cooperate in the investigation and grant access to the poisoned Russian citizens.
London has also said that it suspects Russian nationals Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, allegedly working for Russian intelligence, of carrying out the poisoning.
Petrov and Boshirov, meanwhile, denied their involvement in the alleged attack in an interview with the RT and Sputnik Editor-In-Chief, saying that they had visited Salisbury just to do sightseeing and actually worked in the fitness industry.