The UK is expected to ask Moscow to extradite two Russian nationals suspected of killing one person and critically injuring three others by poisoning them with a nerve agent, Britain's Guardian paper has reported.
Police officers in protective suits and masks work near the scene where former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia were discovered after being attacked with a nerve-agent on March 16, 2018 in Salisbury, England.
Moscow has categorically denied all accusations over the novichok attacks.
An investigation by hundreds of British police and intelligence officers have pieced together the movements of the two Russians, from their entry into Britain through to their departure, the Guardian reported.
It comes after Yahoo revealed last week that the UK Government had failed to make any contact with the Russian government or its agencies since the the murder of a British woman who was poisoned on UK soil with the deadly Novichok nerve agent more than four weeks ago.
While the request is nearly certain to be rejected out of hand by the Russian authorities, it is likely to reignite the bitter diplomatic row that erupted following the poisoning of the former Russian spy in March. "It's nearly a rerun of the situation", The Guardian quoted a government source as saying. "The police have managed to identify the people coming over and going back again", a Whitehall source said. The Russian constitution prevents the extradition of Russian citizens to another state.
Since 2007, the United Kingdom has been seeking extradition of Russian deputy Andrei Lugovoi and entrepreneur Dmitry Kovtun in the case of the murder of FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko.
The Skripals were hospitalized for months in critical condition, but after what they described as a painful period of recovery, both were released.
The request will inflame the current diplomatic row Russian Federation. Rowley recovered but Sturgess died.