Russian Novichok assassins who tried to kill Sergei Skripal ‘could already be dead’

Are Russian novichok hitmen already DEAD? New theory claims the men may have been executed to hide traces of the crime

-Britain has named Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov as GRU spies who allegedly tried to poison Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia with novichok

-Andrei Piontkovsky, a Putin critic, believes the pair may have already been killed

-He pointed to case of Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun, the men accused of poisoning Alexander Litvinenko, saying they went public to protect themselves

-If Petrov and Boshirov do not appear in coming days they are dead, he added

Two Russians accused of launching a nerve agent attack on Britain may already be dead, a leading Vladimir Putin critic has claimed.

Andrei Piontkovsky believes that men – named by British police as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov – could have been executed to hide traces of the alleged crime.

He compared the case to that of Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun, the men accused by Britain of poisoning Alexander Litvinenko with polonium in 2006.

Lugovoy and Kovtun went public to deny the claims soon after being accused, meaning the Russian authorities then protected them, said Piontkovsky.

If they are still alive then they should make themselves known to the public in Russia, claimed Piontkovsky.

He compared the case to the killers of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko by a polonium poisoning in London in 2006.

Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun had gone public to deny the claims soon after being accused by Britain – and the Russian authorities then protected them, said Piontkovsky.

“Lugovoy and Kovtun rescued themselves by running to Ecko (radio station) and going public,” he said.

“One (Lugovoy) even had to be made an MP.

“If ‘Petrov’ and ‘Bashirov’ don’t appear in the coming days, it means they are already dead.”

This comes amid a massive assault on Britain by Moscow’s state-run media which ignored more than 1,000 people being detained in ugly clashes during protests against Putin’s unpopular pension reforms and instead blasted an “epidemic of lies” over Novichok by Theresa May’s government.

There has been speculation that the perpetrators of the 2014 downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, an act which killed 298 people, could have been killed.

That has also been linked to the GRU.

This would remove those who could one day testify about Moscow’s role in the horror, it has been claimed.

State TV launched a new offensive on Britain over the accusations that GRU agents using the names Petrov and Boshirov were behind the chemical weapon poisoning in Salisbury.

This coincided with with anti-Putin protests over raising the pension age – which were not mentioned.

Vesti Nedeli show accused London of an “epidemic of lies”, with presenter Dmitry Kiselyov – dubbed Putin’s propagandist-in-chief, claiming May was using the Skripal case to cover-up the “failure” of her Brexit policy.

TV shows slammed the idea that professional Russian agents would be so easily seen on CCTV images or fail to kill their target.

Itogi Nedeli’s TV anchor Irada Zeynalova claimed the British Prime Minister needed a “foreign enemy” to rally Britain, and chose Russia.

Petrov and Boshirov were being turned into Russian villains to the extent it was surprising they were not pictured in traditional Ushanka fur hats with ear flaps, she claimed.

Russian state-run TV assures its viewers that the Novichok poisoning was the work of British or western secret services.

Weekly Vremya claimed the plot “could not get any more absurd” and alleged Britain had invented crude stereotypes of Russian baddies as seen in Arnold Schwarzenegger film Red Heat.

The events showed the “infantilism of British society”.

This was echoed by Russia’s representative at the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, who claimed Britain had experienced a “degradation” of its “political culture”.

He said: “It is difficult to imagine a serious court, even in the UK, for example, agreeing to examine the arguments of the British side.

“No one needs the truth, as a new, absolutely unique and efficient political ploy has been introduced ― lodging charges and pointing at the guilty without any proof.

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