The two men blended in with crowds in Salisbury, which was hosting its weekly Saturday market, then slipped away within a couple of hours. They returned the next day and, in broad daylight, allegedly sprayed the door handle of the home of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal with Novichok nerve agent held in a fake Nina Ricci "Premier Jour" perfume bottle, per Bloomberg. Before the bottle was found in a charity bin in June, leading to a woman's death, UK authorities allege it was carried on an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to London's Gatwick Airport, then through train stations and a budget hotel, by Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov—likely aliases for agents of Russia's military foreign intelligence service.
Bloomberg notes investigators took more than 1,400 witness statements and surveyed 11,000 hours of CCTV footage before arriving at their conclusion. Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday the operation was "almost certainly" approved by the Russian state, which responded to the UK's repeated questions with "obfuscation and lies." Though Russia's constitution doesn't allow for extradition, Europe-wide arrest warrants have been issued and the matter is to be raised at a Thursday meeting of the UN Security Council. As for the east London hotel the men reportedly stayed at for two nights in March, CNN reports it was "deemed safe" following tests performed in May and that no one who stayed there in the interim reported becoming sick. (Read more Novichok stories.)