BRUSSELS – The European Union added on Monday two suspected Russian intelligence officers accused of using a military-grade nerve agent to poison a former Russian spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom last year to its economic sanctions list.
The two suspects, who went by the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov – allegedly aliases for high-ranking intelligence officers Alexander Mishkin and Anatoliy Chepiga – were blamed by the British government for smuggling Novichok into the UK and using it in attempted assassination of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the sleepy southern English city of Salisbury in March 2018.
“Sanctions consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed,” an EU statement said.
“This decision contributes to the EU’s efforts to counter the proliferation and use of chemical weapons, which poses a serious threat to international security,” the statement added.
The EU said it has also targeted the head and deputy head of GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, in relation to the same accusations.
The bloc also added a Syrian scientific research center accused of manufacturing chemical weapons to the list.
Russia has denied the two suspects were behind the Novichok poisoning.