British prosecutors charged two Russian men Wednesday with the nerve agent poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury. The Crown Prosecution Service said the men, known to British investigators as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, are charged in absentia with conspiracy to murder, attempted murder, and use of the nerve agent Novichok, reports the AP. Russian law forbids extradition of its own citizens, but Britain has issued a European Arrest Warrant, meaning the suspects can be detained if they leave Russia for another European country. Assistant police commissioner Neil Basu conceded it was "very very unlikely" police would be in a position to arrest them any time soon. Police say the men, both about 40, flew to London on Russian passports two days before the Skripals were poisoned March 4. Basu said they were probably using aliases.
Basu appealed to the public "to come forward and tell us who they are." Police released images of the men as they traveled through London and Salisbury between March 2 and March 4. Police say the two men flew back to Moscow from Heathrow on the evening of March 4, hours after the Skripals were found collapsed on a park bench. Police believe the nerve agent used to poison the Skripals was smuggled to Britain in a perfume bottle and applied to Skripal's front door of Sergei Skripal's house. The bottle was found by a local man, Charlie Rowley, in June; he was hospitalized and his girlfriend, Dawn Sturgess, died. Police haven't determined where the bottle was between poisonings, and aren't ready to bring charges in the second poisoning. Basu wouldn't say whether cops believe the suspects worked for Russian security services but called it "a sophisticated attack across borders." (Read more Sergei Skripal stories.)