Sanctions were imposed by the European Union on four intelligence agents in connection with the chemical weapons attack in Salisbury on Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, and Yulia, his daughter.
The attack on the 4th of March 2018 placed both the Skripal’s in a coma and resulted in the death of Dawn Sturgess, a woman from the United Kingdom who was exposed to the discarded nerve agent on the 30th June in the nearby town of Amesbury.
The sanctions are aimed at GRU agents Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov. Both are considered as key suspects in the said attack. It also involves Igor Olegovich Kostyukov and Vladimir Stepanovich Alexseyev, the head and deputy head of the GRU, respectively.
In a statement, the European Union stated: “These designations include the two GRU officials, and the head and deputy head of the GRU responsible for possession, transport and use in Salisbury of a toxic nerve agent on the weekend of 4 March 2018.”
In a tweet, Jeremy Hunt, the UK Foreign Secretary, stated: “EU just imposed first sanctions under a brand new chemical weapons regime against Salisbury suspects Alexander Petrov, Ruslan Boshirov & GRU leaders. The result of hard work between UK & EU, this sends a clear message that the world condemns chemical weapons use wherever it occurs.”
Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson for the Kremlin, rejected the said move.
He stated: “They are suspected groundlessly,” he said. “We have still not heard any evidence.”
The imposed sanctions consist of a travel ban to the European Union and an asset freeze for the individuals and entities. Also, EU individuals and entities are prohibited from making funds available to those sanctioned.
The European Union also targeted the Scientific Studies and Research Centre, a Syrian body that was accused of being involved in the development and production of chemical weapons, and five officials from Syria who were involved in its activities.