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Russians Accused of Skripal Poisoning Previously Detained in The Netherlands — Bellingcat

A joint investigation by Bellingcat and The Insider media outlet claims that the two Russian men suspected of poisoning Sergei Skripal were previously detained in The Netherlands.

British prosecutors have identified two Russians they said were operating under aliases — Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov — whom they accused of trying to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal with a military-grade nerve agent in England. Two men who identified themselves as Petrov and Boshirov told Russia's state-funded RT television station last week that they had traveled to Salisbury for tourism purposes.

In its report published on Thursday evening, Bellingcat cited an unnamed source in a Western European law-enforcement agency as saying that Petrov and Boshirov — which are presumably not the men's real names — were previously detained in the Netherlands. In its Russian-language report, the Insider cited unnamed sources in Dutch law enforcement as saying the arrests had taken place early this year. They were then handed over to Swiss authorities, the report added.

The Dutch NRC Handelsblad and Tages-Anzeiger newspaper already reported last week that Swiss, Dutch and British authorities had worked together to foil a plot against the Spiez laboratory near Bern which analyzes chemical and biological weapons.

A spokesperson for Switzerland's Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) confirmed the news to The Moscow Times.

Responding to the reports, Russia's Foreign Ministry summoned the ambassadors of Switzerland and the Netherlands in Moscow over what it called "unsubstantiated accusations."

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