The perfume bottle filled with Novichok that was used to attack Sergei and Yulia Skripal contained enough nerve agent to kill 4,000 people, it has been said.
A security official said the two Russian agents accused of carrying out the Salisbury attack had brought enough Novichok to cause "significant loss of life."
The UN envoy to the UN accused Moscow yesterday of "playing dice" with British lives after the finger pointed to Vladimir Putin and the GRU.
The attack left the Skripals seriously ill and caused the death of British mother Dawn Sturgess, but the nerve agent could have cost thousands more lives, The Times reported.
The perfume bottle filled with Novichok (left), which Russian agents Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov (right) are accused of using in the attack, could have killed up to 4,000 people
Dame Karen Pierce (pictured yesterday), representative of the United Kingdom at the UN, said that Russia had "played dice with the lives of the people of Salisbury" for Novichok's poisonings
Dame Karen Pierce, representative of the United Kingdom at the UN, said that Russia had "played dice with the lives of the people of Salisbury".
"We have clear evidence of the participation of the Russian state in what happened in Salisbury," he said at the meeting.
Russia said the West was operating in a "post-truth world," calling the issue a "theater of the absurd."
The two men allegedly responsible for March's neurotoxic poisoning, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, have been identified by the United Kingdom as members of the GRU, Russia's military intelligence service.
Donald Trump, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau previously issued a joint statement with Theresa May coinciding with the British assessment that the operation was "almost certainly approved at the governmental level". in Moscow.
Detectives believe it is likely that the two suspects, who are believed to be around 40 years old, travel under alias and that Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names.
Prosecutors consider it useless to ask Russia for the extradition of the two men, but a European arrest warrant has been obtained and the authorities are also seeking the help of Interpol.
Detectives believe that the main door of Mr. Skripal's Salisbury house was contaminated with Novichok on March 4.
Police said the suspects spent two nights at a hotel in East London and made a suspicious reconnaissance trip to Salisbury the day before the Skripals were poisoned.
The two Russian spies who were wanted for the poisoning of Novichok in Salisbury carried passports with the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, but the police say it is unlikely to be their real names.
This is the amazing moment when the two Novichok assassins made their purchases in the windows of Salisbury, minutes after having stained the Skripals latch.
Something in the store's exhibit caught the attention of Alexander Petrov (dressed in a woolen cap and a blue coat) and arrested fellow murderer Ruslan Boshirov (in the cap)
Then, the couple looks towards the shop door, since they seem to be considering going in to observe more closely the article they have been examining
Petrov seems to be heading towards the door of the store before realizing that the place is closed and the men continue walking towards the Salisbury train station to take a train back to London.
Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Mrs. May's accusations are "unacceptable" and that "nobody in the Russian leadership" has anything to do with the poisoning.
The spokeswoman of the Ministry of Outer Subjects, Maria Zakharova, accused the United Kingdom and the United States of a "witch hunt" against Russia.
Meanwhile, the Twitter account of the Russian embassy published a series of messages aimed at undermining the credibility of UK research.
They included comparisons with the intelligence evidence used to build the case of the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
MailOnline revealed that the suspects bought shop windows in Salisbury minutes after they tried to assassinate former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
The first footage seen of the murderers, obtained exclusively by MailOnline, shows the two men who seem relaxed and in good spirits as they strolled down the street towards the Salisbury station to make their escape.
The bottle of Fake Nina Ricci perfume used by the killers of Salisbury was manufactured by the best scientists of the branch & # 39; Q-ski & # 39; of Russian military intelligence
Police have posted images of the perfume bottle that they say was adapted to help the two Russian suspects carry out their lethal attack
The Russians spent a fortune on the small bottle of perfume inspired by James Bond used to carry novichok, including the development of new technology to ensure that it was not a suicide mission for their agents, as revealed by experts today.
Bretton-Gordon's Hamish, one of Britain's top chemical weapons experts, says the fake Nina Ricci Premier Jour flask could only have been produced by Putin's best scientists in his most sophisticated and secret laboratory.
He told MailOnline: "They needed to make sure that the men who carried out the attack did not kill themselves while they were doing it. It would be deeply embarrassing for his agents to die in a foreign land. "
The two assassins, using the aliases Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, smoothly drove Novichok's bottle to the United Kingdom before spraying it on Sergei Skripal's main gate in the suburbs of Salisbury in March.
Experts believe that the failed coup came after three months of development and tests probably sanctioned at the highest levels of the Russian state.
The laboratory, called "Q-ski" after the research and development division of the British Secret Service in James Bond, manufactured the bottle and the "one-way" applicator nozzle, making it impossible for Novichok to leak in transit. .
It was also made of special hardened glass, plastic or ceramic that surely would not break, break or degrade while carrying one of the deadliest weapons in the world.
Dressed in winter clothes, you see Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov walking past the Dauwalders collectibles and the rare stamp store before getting distracted by the window display case.
Petrov is carrying a backpack, a black woolen hat and a blue coat, while Boshirov is wearing a dark jacket and a baseball cap.
Seeming to forget their mission, they examine the showcase in detail, talking enthusiastically about collectors' items.
Then they approach the entrance of the store as if to make a purchase, before realizing that the store is closed and continuing to the Salisbury train station and escape.
The killers of Salisbury spent two years traveling through Europe using their "perfect" fake IDs and one even flew to London 12 months before the Novichok attack, security sources in Russia revealed today.
The suspects received genuine Russian passports and then obtained visas from the British embassy in Moscow under fake aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov to avoid detection during their assassination mission in March.
Their passports were used repeatedly on trips from Moscow to Amsterdam, Geneva, Milan and Paris between September 2016 and March 2018, and British investigators now strive to find out exactly what Russian spies were doing in Europe.
Petrov's passport was also used in London on February 28, 2017, a year before his failed mission to kill former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a nerve agent stained on the door of his house in the suburbs of Salisbury
The details of the trip have been published by Fontanka, an independent Russian media with a solid track record of investigative reports on the Putin regime.
Hamish of Bretton Gordon, one of the leading British experts on chemical weapons, told MailOnline today that UK security sources informed him that the men, who were military agents of GRU, had hidden stories that helped them avoid being detained in the border of the United Kingdom.
He said: The passports were perfect in every detail, including all electrical circuits and circuits. It deceived the electronic security of the British border, which is considered one of the best. We also gave them visas, they must have had a plausible background story. "
Mr. Bretton Gordon suggested that Russia could even have pirated the border security system of the United Kingdom to ensure twice that they had not been identified as "persons of interest" and interviewed. The Ministry of the Interior today denied it.
Today, Security Minister Ben Wallace said that Vladimir Putin is the ultimate responsible & # 39; of the novichok attack due to its strong control over the GRU espionage network that sent two killers & # 39; calamitous & # 39; in a pathetic & # 39; mission to kill Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
This map shows the European cities visited by the two alleged murderers in the two years prior to the Salisbury attack
He said: "The state had clearly decided to sit behind this action and lend its logistics." The men received genuine passports, provided with aliases that survived a certain level of proof and visas used by many law-abiding Russians to visit Britain. for holidays or business.
"The Russian state, which we know had invented novichok, must have made sure that it was put in a package that was there to disguise it, if you let them enter your system, the air side in Russia becomes more difficult to detect" .
Wallace said he is "100 percent sure" that the men named carried out the attack and claimed that Vladimir Putin is ultimately responsible for the actions of his spies, but added: "This was more Johnny English than James Bond."
He said: "Ultimately he does, insofar as he is president of the Russian Federation and it is his government that controls, finances and directs military intelligence, that is the GRU, through his minister defense. I do not think anyone can say that Mr. Putin is not in control of his state.
When asked how the United Kingdom would respond, he declined to say and added: "We retaliate on our way, we are not Russians, we do not adopt the kind of aggressive, destructive and aggressive behavior we have seen, we chose to challenge the Russians in both the open space as in the undercover, within the rule of law and in a sophisticated way ".
Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Theresa May's accusations are "unacceptable" and that "no one in the Russian leadership" has anything to do with the poisoning.
He also said that Russia "has no reason" to investigate Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.
Theresa May will take revenge of Russia with the cybernetic war, the espionage, the financial sanctions and the prohibitions of traveling, that probably will be used, said the sources.
Interpol has been on red alert to stop the two agents, who use the aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.
Mrs. May warned that they would be taken to Britain to be tried if they ever left Russia, but experts have said that Vladimir Putin will personally ensure that assassins never leave the country and reward them with lucrative promotions despite thwarting their attempted murder against Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
The historian Yuri Felshtinsky, author of The Putin Corporation, whose friend Alexander Litvinenko was killed after jointly writing a book, told MailOnline: "Although they failed in their covert attack, President Putin will praise the two members of the GRU and reward them in ways they will advance in their career, promoting them as heroes now that their cover is flying & # 39;
Theresa May blamed the Kremlin yesterday for the novichok attack and hinted that the assassination order could have come directly from Putin because only he has the power in Russian law to order murders abroad.
Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Commons, went further by saying: "President Putin has responsibility for a war act," while Bob Seely, a Tory expert and Russian expert, said the Order "could only come from Russian". Head of State & # 39;
The victim of poisoning Charlie Rowley urged the police to bring the two suspects to justice.
Rowley, 48, and his partner Dawn Sturgess, 44, fell ill in Amesbury after coming in contact with the substance months after the same nerve agent was used against former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
Ms. Sturgess died in the hospital in July and a still weak Mr. Rowley made a passionate appeal to see the suspects, who according to the police were Russian military intelligence officers, "brought to justice."
There are fears that his calls may be useless because Russian President Vladimir Putin would protect his "heroes" and prevent them from leaving the country, which has no extradition treaty with Britain.
It echoes the case of the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, was killed using radioactive polonium in London.
Andrei Lugovoy, widely suspected of the massacre, remained in Russia where he claimed that it was"The moon is more likely to become part of the Earth" than the one that would face justice in Britain.
In a day of extraordinary revelations, it was learned that the two suspects had "almost identical passport numbers", suggesting that the travel documents were issued at the same time before their trip to the United Kingdom.
While an apartment in a 25-story building registered to one of the suspects in Moscow turned out to be false, as it was revealed to be the home of an elderly cleaner, with residents telling the Russian media that they had never seen a man go or come that floor
The services announced Petrov and Boshirov as the two men responsible for the attack on Skripal and her daughter in Salisbury, Wiltshire, in March.
Surprising CCTV footage shows Petrov and Boshirov smiling as they tour the city of Wiltshire the day Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with the military-grade chemical weapon.
The map shows the movement of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov on the day of the poisoning
Former KGB agent Litvinenko was poisoned after radioactive polonium 210 was introduced into his teapot in 2006, a murder that according to a judge was probably approved by President Vladimir Putin.
An investigation found that two Russian men, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun, had deliberately poisoned Litvinenko by putting polonium 210 in his drink in a London hotel, causing an agonizing death.
Litvinenko in the hospital before his death
He said that the use of the radioactive substance – which could only come from a nuclear reactor – was a "strong indicator" of state involvement and that the two men had probably been acting under the direction of the FSB.
Possible reasons include Litvinenko's work for the British intelligence agencies, his criticism of the FSB and his association with other Russian dissidents, while he said there was also a "personal dimension" of the antagonism between him and Putin.
The international arrest warrants issued for Messrs. Lugovoi and Kovtun remain in force, although Russia continues to reject his extradition.
Lugovoi became a Russian deputy in 2007 shortly after the interest in him for the death of Litvinenko. This means that he now has political immunity and can not be prosecuted.
An investigation found that two Russian men, Andrei Lugovoi (pictured) and Dmitri Kovtun, had deliberately poisoned Litvinenko.
Prime Minister Theresa May revealed today that the two men are believed to be officers of Russia's GRU military intelligence service, according to British agencies.
The novichok attack left a trail of the deadly nerve agent around Salisbury, with the mother of three Dawn Sturgess dying after it came in contact with the chemical. Ms. Sturgess' partner Charlie Rowley and county police officer Nick Bailey were also hospitalized.
In response, Rowley said from his hospital bed that, although he did not recognize the couple, he wants to see the men "brought to justice."
He told ITV News: "I do not recognize the two suspects, but I want them to be brought to justice.
"I'm glad the police are making progress in their investigation, but at the same time, it's unpleasant to see Dawn's face everywhere, because it brings all the pain and pain of losing it back to reality.
"It is a step forward to see the suspects identified in the Skripal case, but we must make sure that these people are also responsible for the murder of Dawn, a beautiful woman who was unjustly killed because of her."
Despite calls from Mr. Rowley, Mark Galeotti, an expert in Russia for The Institute of International Relations, said the couple will never be brought to justice, even if Putin loses control of power.
He told Sky News: "Even if the government changes in Moscow, the Russian constitution explicitly prohibits the extradition of Russian citizens and since we assume that these two, whatever their real names, is not what is in their passport, Since they are Russian citizens, they will not be extradited.
"The only possibility is if they are stupid enough to try to travel abroad … but to be honest, their vacation plans will be Crimea instead of anywhere else."
Sharp CCTV images revealed today show the two Russian agents entering Britain at Gatwick, walking through Salisbury on the day of the attack, and leaving the United Kingdom at Heathrow airport a few hours after the Skripals were found collapsed in a park.
The prosecutors will not ask Russia to extradite the two men, since there is no agreement between the two countries, but a European arrest warrant has been obtained in case one of the two people is ever seen outside Russia.
Theresa May told parliamentarians that the British secret services believe that the two suspects are officers of the Russian military intelligence agency known as GRU.
She said it is unlikely that the agency could have carried out such a brazen attack on its own and that the coup was almost certainly approved at a higher level of the Russian state.
Ms. May added: "The GRU is a highly disciplined organization with a well-established chain of command, so this was not a dishonest operation.
"The actions of the GRU are a threat to all our allies and to all of our citizens." Based on what we have learned in the Salisbury research and what we know about this organization more broadly, we must now intensify our collective efforts specifically against the GRU ".
The couple was captured on CCTV at the Salisbury train station on March 3, the day before Skripal was poisoned. Scotland Yard believes that they came to the city to carry out a reconnaissance mission
The police released an image of the perfume bottle that is believed to contain the novichok and the box in which it was hidden. This was picked up by Salisbury resident Dawn Sturgess weeks after the attack. She sprayed it on her wrists before she died
It has been possible to reconstruct your trip from Moscow to London, to the cathedral city of Wiltshire and back on a plane to Russia.
Mr. Skripal was a colonel in the GRU before being imprisoned for selling secrets to the West and brought to Britain in an exchange of spies. Therefore, the prime minister's announcement suggests that the coup may have been organized by his former colleagues.
Police said the suspects, who are around 40 years old, are likely to be traveling under the alias and Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names. They are attractive to anyone around the world who knows their real identities to get in touch with them.
On a busy morning of announcements and statements, prosecutors revealed that Petrov and Boshirov are wanted for conspiracy to kill Mr. Skripal and the attempted murder of his daughter.
If detected, the Russians will also be charged with the attempted murder of DS Bailey and the use of novichok against the Chemical Weapons Act.
But Russian authorities denied any knowledge of the two men, and Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters: "Names published by the media, like their photographs, mean nothing to us."
Biometric data is required from Russians seeking British visas, which means that the anti-terrorist police could have their fingerprints and genuine iris data.
But there are fears that the couple can avoid justice, but simply stay in Russia for the rest of their lives, as the alleged killers of Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with radioactive polonium in 2006.
The charge d'affaires of the Russian embassy in London was summoned today to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a reprimand by an official, since Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko is not currently in the country.
The official spokesman of the Prime Minister said: "He was informed of the charges we have brought against two Russian citizens, the fact that they were GRU officers and our determination that they should be brought to justice.
"We also made it clear that the UK expects the Russian state to respond for the outrageous and outrageous actions of the GRU and that the UK expects Russia to provide a full account of its chemical weapons program to the OPCW."
Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a novichok in Salisbury in an attack that the United Kingdom blamed on Russia
The mother of three Dawn Sturgess died and her partner Charlie Rowley fell ill after they came in contact with Novichok. It is believed that they found a bottle used to store the chemical
Why Russia will not extradite the suspects?
The British authorities said today that they would not request the extradition of the suspects, since any request would be rejected by the Putin regime.
The Russian constitution prohibits the extradition of Russian citizens to another state.
A European arrest warrant (EAW) has been obtained, which means that if a man travels to a country covered by the plan, he will be arrested.
The police investigating the Salisbury poisoning is also trying to circulate the "red warnings" of Interpol.
The potential for a standstill echoes the aftermath of the assassination of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.
In that case, two men were identified as suspects but were never handed over to Britain.
Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with the military-grade chemical weapon in Salisbury in March.
Police officer Sergeant Nick Bailey was also poisoned when he attended the suburban home of the retired spy. Like the Skripals, he recovered after receiving treatment to save lives in the city hospital.
But in June, the mother of three of Dawn Sturgess died and her partner Charlie Rowley was hospitalized after they fell ill at his home in nearby Amesbury.
Police have now released an image of the perfume bottle used by would-be assassins to transport the novichok. Mrs. Sturgess found the bottle and put the substance on her wrists.
Today's announcement refers to the initial attack, but Mr. Basu confirmed that the agents linked the attack to the Skripals with events in Amesbury less than four months later, in which Dawn Sturgess, 44, and his partner Charlie Rowley , 48, were exposed to the same nerve agent
Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist commissioner, Neil Basu, said: "Today is the most significant moment so far in what has been one of the most complex and intense investigations we have carried out in the fight against terrorism: the accusation against two suspects, both Russian citizens, in connection with the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
Mr. Basu added: "We do not believe that Dawn and Charlie were deliberately attacked, but that they became victims as a result of the imprudence with which such a toxic nerve agent was eliminated.
"We know that Novichok was applied to Skrippals' front door in an area accessible to the public, which also endangered the lives of members of the public and emergency services."
The Skripals were found collapsed on a park bench in Salisbury in March, sparking a major investigation involving anti-terrorist police, military and chemical weapons experts.
The most important police commissioner in Great Britain, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, added: "We remain absolutely determined to identify and bring proceedings in the courts of the United Kingdom of the people responsible for these attacks and we will do everything possible to ensure that victims receive justice, their families. & # 39;
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed yesterday that the toxic chemical that killed Dawn Sturgess was the same nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals three months earlier.
The OPCW said that it was not possible to conclude whether the nerve agent used in the two incidents was from the same lot.
The Russian state has previously denied participation. His embassy in London yesterday demanded access to the Skripals.
A statement issued by the Russian Embassy on Tuesday said the circumstances of the March attack were "dark" and accused the British authorities of keeping the Skripals in isolation since their release from the hospital.
He said: "They remain out of reach of the public in an unknown place, without being able to communicate freely with their relatives, friends, journalists or Russian officials, deprived of the freedom of movement".
Ms. Sturgess's previous home in Salisbury was closed by police in July, since her death meant that the investigation turned into a murder investigation.
It is believed that Novichok was stained on the knob of the front door of the Salisbury house of Mr. Skripal.
Revealed: How the & # 39; killers & # 39; they forged a Nina Ricci perfume bottle full of poisonous toxic agents and then they pulled her recklessly, leading to the death of a British woman
Russian agents suspected of carrying out the Novichok attack used a glass container made to look like a perfume bottle.
Charlie Rowley, 48, told police he found a box he believed contained perfume in a charity bin on Wednesday, June 27.
The box and the bottle were labeled Premier Jour by Nina Ricci, but Scotland Yard confirmed that they were fakes and that they had been specially adapted.
Inside the box was a bottle and an applicator, and police said that Rowley tried to put the two parties together at his home in Amesbury on Saturday, June 30. In doing so, he obtained some of the content about himself.
Dijo que su compañera, Dawn Sturgess, de 44 años, había aplicado parte de la sustancia a sus muñecas antes de sentirse mal.
Después de que él le dijo a la policía dónde encontró la caja, se colocaron cordones y se sacaron dos contenedores detrás de las tiendas en Catherine Street, Salisbury.
Previamente, durante un registro de la casa del Sr. Rowley en Muggleton Road, Amesbury, el 10 de julio, una pequeña caja etiquetada como Nina Ricci Premier Jour fue recuperada de una bolsa de basura en la cocina.
Se cree que el mortal arma química fue pasada de contrabando por Gran Bretaña disfrazado de perfume en esta caja
El 11 de julio, se encontró una pequeña botella de vidrio con una boquilla modificada en la encimera de la cocina.
Las pruebas realizadas en el Laboratorio de Ciencia y Tecnología de Defensa del Gobierno establecieron que la botella contenía una "cantidad significativa de novichok", dijo Scotland Yard.
El contenedor Novichok fue diseñado para parecerse a una botella de Premier Jour de Nina Ricci. Foto de archivo
La Sra. Sturgess murió en el hospital en julio, justo una semana después de que ella y el Sr. Rowley enfermaron.
El comisionado adjunto de la policía metropolitana, Neil Basu, dijo que la forma en que se adaptó la botella y el embalaje la convirtió en una "cobertura perfecta" para el contrabando del arma al país.
Agregó: "Hemos llevado a cabo numerosas consultas en relación con la botella y ahora podemos lanzar una imagen de la misma con la boquilla conectada.
'También estamos lanzando una imagen de la caja en la que estaban la botella y la boquilla.
"Hemos hablado con Nina Ricci y hemos realizado más consultas. Nina Ricci y nuestras investigaciones confirmaron que no es una botella, frasco o boquilla de perfume genuino de Nina Ricci.
"De hecho, es una caja, botella y boquilla falsificados especialmente adaptados.
"Me gustaría tranquilizar a cualquiera que haya comprado perfume de Nina Ricci de una fuente legítima que no debería preocuparse. Es seguro.
"No podemos explicar el paradero de la botella, la boquilla o la caja entre el ataque a Skripals el 4 de marzo y cuando Charlie Rowley dijo que lo encontró el miércoles 27 de junio".
¿Quiénes son los GRU y cómo se involucró el doble agente Sergei Skripal con ellos?
El GRU – un acrónimo de Glavnoye razvedyvatel'noye upravleniye o Dirección Principal de Inteligencia – fue fundado en 1918 después de la Revolución Bolchevique de Lenin.
Lenin insisted on his independence from other secret services and GRU was seen as a rival by other Soviet secret services, like the KGB.
According to Yuri Shvets, a former KGB agent, the GRU officers were referred to as "hard" but unsophisticated boots.
"The GRU took its officers out of the trenches," he said, while the KGB chose its agents from the best universities in the USSR.
La sede de GRU en Moscú. Los agentes de la agencia fueron vistos originalmente como más rudos y menos sofisticados que sus contrapartes de la KGB, de acuerdo con ex agentes
The GRU would train agents and then send them to represent the Soviet Union abroad as military attaches in foreign embassies, according to historian John Barron.
But once he is a member of the GRU, it is believed that it is exceptionally difficult to leave. And those who do it to join foreign agencies were savagely punished.
A younger Sergei Skripal. He went on to unmask dozens of secret agents and feed information to MI6
Viktor Suvorov, a GRU officer who defected to Britain in 1978, said the new recruits were shown a video of a traitor from the agency who was burned alive in a furnace as a warning.
Unlike the KGB, the GRU did not split when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
It has a special status and answers directly to the chief of the general staff, one of the three people who control Russia's portable nuclear control system.
GRU chiefs are reportedly picked by Putin himself.
The GRU is now considered Russia's largest foreign intelligence service, according to Reuters, dwarfing Moscow's better-known Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), which is the successor to the KGB's First Chief Directorate.
Sergei Skripal, a former colonel at GRU, was considered by the Kremlin to be one of the most damaging spies of his generation.
He was responsible for unmasking dozens of secret agents that threatened Western interests operating undercover in Europe.
Col Skripal, 66, allegedly received £ 78,000 in exchange for taking big risks to pass classified information to MI6.
In 2006, he was sentenced to 13 years in a Russian labor camp after being convicted of passing invaluable Russian secrets to the United Kingdom.
An important source in Moscow said at the time: & # 39; This man is a great hero for MI6 & # 39;
He was sentenced to 13 years in a Russian labour camp when he was convicted of passing secrets to Britain
After being convicted of "high treason in the form of espionage" by the Moscow military court, Col Skripal was stripped of his rank, medals and state awards.
The Russian security service, the FSB, accused him of having started working for the British secret services while serving in the army in the 1990s.
GRU, one of whose divisions has an emblem featuring a bat, was founded after the Russian Revolution
He passed information classified as state secrets and MI6 paid him for the work, the FSB said.
Col Skripal pleaded guilty in the trial and cooperated with the investigators, reports reported at the time. He admitted his activities and gave a complete account of his espionage, which led to a reduced sentence.
In July 2010, he was pardoned by then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and was one of four spies exchanged by ten Russian agents deported from the US. UU En un intercambio histórico que involucró a la pelirroja 'femme fatale' Anna Chapman
After the exchange at the Vienna airport, Col Skripal was one of the two spies who arrived in Britain and has maintained a low profile for the past eight years.
The former spy was living in one direction in Salisbury, Wiltshire, when suspicion of poisoning took place in the center of the city.
A timeline of the key developments in the Salisbury poisoning case
2010 – Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer jailed for spying for Britain, is released and flown to the UK as part of a swap with Russian agents caught in the United States. He settles in Salisbury.
March 3, 2018 – Yulia Skripal arrives at Heathrow Airport from Russia to visit her father in England.
March 4, 9.15am – Sergei Skripal's burgundy BMW is seen in suburban Salisbury, near a cemetery, where his wife and son are commemorated.
March 4, 1.30pm – The BMW is seen driving toward central Salisbury.
March 4, 1.40pm – The BMW is parked at a lot in central Salisbury.
A police officer stands guard outside the Zizzi restaurant where Sergei and Yulia had lunch before they collapsed in a nearby park
March 4, afternoon – Sergei and Yulia Skripal visit the Bishops Mill pub.
March 4, 2.20pm to 3.35pm – Sergei and Yulia Skripal have lunch at the Zizzi restaurant.
March 4, 4.15pm – Emergency services are called by a passer-by concerned about a man and a woman in Salisbury city centre.
Officers find the Skripals unconscious on a bench. They are taken to Salisbury District Hospital, where they remain in critical condition.
March 5, morning – Police say two people in Salisbury are being treated for suspected exposure to an unknown substance.
Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey was among the first police officers on the scene and was himself hospitalised
March 5, afternoon – Wiltshire Police, along with Public Health England, declare a 'major incident'
March 7 – Police announce that the Skripals were likely poisoned with a nerve agent in a targeted murder attempt.
They disclose that a police officer who responded to the incident is in serious condition in a hospital.
March 8 – Home Secretary Amber Rudd describes the use of a nerve agent on UK soil was a 'brazen and reckless act' of attempted murder
March 9 – About 180 troops trained in chemical warfare and decontamination are deployed to Salisbury to help with the police investigation.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow might be willing to assist with the investigation but expresses resentment at suggestions the Kremlin was behind the attack.
March 11 – Public health officials tell people who visited the Zizzi restaurant or Bishops Mill pub in Salisbury on the day of the attack or the next day to wash their clothes as a precaution.
March 12, morning– Prime Minister Theresa May tells the House of Commons that the Skripals were poisoned with Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
March 12, afternoon – Public Health England ask everyone who visited Salisbury town centre on the day of the attack to wash all of their clothes and belongings.
Officers wearing chemical protection suits secure the forensic tent over the bench where Sergei and Yulia fell ill
March 14 – The PM announces the expulsion of 23 suspected Russian spies from the country's UK Embassy.
March 22 – Nick Bailey, the police officer injured in the attack, is released from hospital.
March 26 – The United States and 22 other countries join Britain in expelling scores of Russian spies from capitals across the globe.
March 29 – Doctors say Yulia Skripal is 'improving rapidly' in hospital.
April 3 – The chief of the Porton Down defence laboratory said it could not verify the 'precise source' of the nerve agent.
April 5, morning – Yulia Skripal's cousin Viktoria says she has received a call from Yulia saying she plans to leave hospital soon.
Dawn Sturgess died in hospital on July 8
April 5, afternoon – A statement on behalf of Yulia is released by Metropolitan Police, in which she says her strength is 'growing daily' and that 'daddy is fine'.
April 9 – Ms Skripal is released from hospital and moved to a secure location.
May 18 – Sergei Skripal is released from hospital 11 weeks after he was poisoned.
June 30 – Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley fall ill at a property in Amesbury, which is eight miles from Salisbury, and are rushed to hospital.
July 4 – Police declare a major incident after Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley are exposed to an 'unknown substance', later revealed to be Novichok.
July 5 – Sajid Javid demands an explanation over the two poisonings as he accuses the Russian state of using Britain as a 'dumping ground for poison'.
July 8 – Mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess, 44, dies in hospital due to coming into contact with Novichok.
July 10 – Mr Rowley regains consciousness at hospital, and later tells his brother that Dawn had sprayed the Novichok onto her wrists.
July 19 – Police are believed to have identified the perpetrators of the attack.
August 20 – Charlie Rowley is rushed to hospital as he starts to lose his site, but doctors can't confirm whether it has anything to do with the poisoning.
August 26 – Charlie Rowley admitted to intensive care unit with meningitis
August 28 – Police call in the 'super recognisers' in bid to track down the poisoners
September 4 – Charlie Rowley's brother says he has 'lost all hope' and doesn't have long to live.
Independent investigators, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, confirm the toxic chemical that killed Ms Sturgess was the same nerve agent as that which poisoned the Skripals.
September 5 – Scotland Yard and CPS announce enough evidence to charge Russian nationals Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov for conspiracy to murder over Salisbury nerve agent attack.