Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who were formally accused of attempting to murder former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury. Photograph:( Reuters )
European Union today imposed sanctions on nine Russian officials including the head and the deputy head of the powerful GRU military intelligence agency.
"We reserve the right to take retaliatory measures over this unfriendly step," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
The European Union(EU) had today imposed sanctions on nine Russian officials including the head and the deputy head of the powerful GRU military intelligence agency.
It blamed the Russians for "possession, transport and use" of the nerve agent 'Novichok' used in the attack in Salisbury, England last year in March.
In addition to an assets freeze and travel ban against Russian officials, the bloc announced sanctions on an alleged Syrian chemical weapons agency and five Syrians
Full details of those targeted were to be placed on the EU official journal later on Monday.
Russian agents have been blamed for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city in March last year using the Soviet-developed nerve agent Novichok.
The alleged Salisbury attack, the first offensive use of chemical weapons in Europe since World War II, caused an international outcry and prompted a mass expulsion of Russian diplomats by Western nations.
The Skripals survived the alleged attack but a woman died in June after her partner picked up a discarded perfume bottle that British investigators believe was used to carry the Novichok.
Russia has denied any involvement in the poisoning and has offered numerous and varied alternative explanations and counter-accusations.