Scene of nerve agent attack in Salisbury
Scene of nerve agent attack in SalisburyReuters

British investigators have named two Russian nationals as suspects in the attempted murder of a former Russian spy and his daughter.

In March, Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found slumped over on a bench in Salisbury.

After being rushed to the hospital in critical condition, it was found that Skripal and his daughter had been poisoned with a Russian nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Britain accused the Russian government of attempting to murder Skripal, who had once worked as a Russian army intelligence officer before being convicted of treason after he was found to have been a double agent serving the UK government. He was later exchanged in a spy swap with the UK in 2010.

On Wednesday, British police announced the identities of the men suspected in the attempted murders.

The suspects have been identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

While police say there is sufficient evidence to try the pair in court, no extradition request has been filed with Russia, where the two men are believed to be located. The Russian government has a policy of not extraditing its citizens.

Following the poisoning, the UK expelled dozens of Russian diplomats. The US later issued its own condemnation of Russia, and expelled 60 Russian officials assigned to diplomatic facilities in Washington DC and New York City.

“The President’s decision today shows that Russia’s actions have consequences. Beyond Russia’s destabilizing behavior across the world, such as its participation in the atrocities in Syria and its illegal actions in Ukraine, it has now used a chemical weapon within the borders of one of our closest allies,” US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said.