Counter-terrorism police investigating the Salisbury and Amesbury attacks have released images of two Russian nationals, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, as part of a national appeal for information. It is believed the men stayed in a Bow hotel which they used as a base of operations.
Detectives believe that they stayed at the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, E3 on Friday 2nd March and Saturday 3rd March.
Both suspects are approximately 40 years old and were travelling on Russian passports. Domestic and European arrest warrants have been issued for them.
Sergei and Yulia Skripal were subject to a deliberate attack in Salisbury while Dawn Sturgess and her partner Charlie Rowley were exposed to the same Novichok nerve agent in Amesbury. Dawn Sturgess later died.
Counter-terrorism police say that they have no doubt the two incidents are connected and now form one investigation.
They key questions the police want answered are:
- Do you recognise the men or do you know them?
- Did you see them while they were in the UK and in particular during their time in Salisbury?
- Has anyone seen the bottle or box between the attack on the Skripals on Sunday, 4 March to when Charlie says he found it on Wednesday, 27 June? This is vital information.
Anyone with information should contact the investigation team in confidence on 0800 789 321 or email Salisbury2018@met.police.uk.
Salisbury & Amesbury nerve agent attacks
Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury city centre at 4.15pm on Sunday, 4 March, after being poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent.
Both Sergei and Yulia spent weeks critically ill in hospital but are now making a good recovery. Wiltshire police officer Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey also became seriously ill after being exposed to the nerve agent. He continues to make good progress but remains off work.
Mother of three Dawn Sturgess fell ill on 30 June after being exposed to Novichok and never regained consciousness. She died in hospital on Saturday, 8 July. Her partner, Charlie Rowley, was also exposed to the nerve agent and became seriously ill later that day. He received treatment at Salisbury District Hospital over three weeks.
It is likely that they were travelling under aliases and that these are not their real names. The police would like to hear from anyone who knows them.
The two suspects arrived at Gatwick Airport from Moscow on Friday 2nd March and it is believed they then travelled by train to Victoria Station.
At 3pm on Friday, 2 March, the suspects arrived at Gatwick airport, having flown from Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2588.
From there it is believed that they travelled by train into London, arriving at Victoria station at approximately 5.40pm.
Bow Road hotel used as base for Novichok attack
They then travelled to Waterloo station and were in the area between 6pm and 7pm when they then travelled to the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, E3, where they stayed on Friday, 2 March, and Saturday, 3 March.
On Saturday, 3 March, they left the hotel and took the underground to Waterloo station, arriving at approximately 11.45am, where they caught a train to Salisbury, arriving at approximately 2.25pm.
They are believed to have taken a similar route when they returned to London on the afternoon of Saturday, 3 March, leaving Salisbury at approximately 4.10pm and arriving in Bow at approximately 8.05 pm.
The police say that this trip was for reconnaissance of the Salisbury area and do not believe that there was any risk to the public from their movements on this day.
On Sunday, 4 March, they made the same journey from the hotel, again using the underground from Bow to Waterloo station at approximately 8.05am, before continuing their journey by train to Salisbury.
It is believed that it was during this visit to Salisbury that the Novichok attack took place. From Salisbury the two suspects traveled to Heathrow Airport and returned to Moscow at 10.30pm on Sunday, 4 March.
They are not believed to have re-entered the UK after this date.
No risk to public
Counter terrorism police say that after taking advice from Public Health England they are confident that there was no risk to members of the public who were on the same flight, trains or public transport used by the suspects.
However anyone who stayed at the hotel during the relevant dates is asked to get in touch with the police.