Moscow is certain to dismiss British requests to extradite two suspects. The truth must be aired all the same

The Salisbury nerve agent attack is about to claim yet another pair of tragic victims. These victims will be the third couple to suffer in the case. The first pair were Sergei and Yulia Skripal, who were found unconscious in Salisbury in March after being exposed to the novichok nerve agent, and who eventually survived. The second pair were Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, who are thought to have picked up the original bottle containing the novichok that was used to attack the Skripals, as a result of which Sturgess sadly died.

The latest pair of victims are not human – but political. The first of them is UK-Russian relations, which are already difficult and are now certain to be further damaged by the expected UK extradition request, on which we report today, which names two Russians who are suspected of carrying out the Salisbury attack. The other is Russia’s international reputation, which will be diminished both by the investigation that has produced the request and, every bit as bad, by the inevitable scornful dismissal with which the request is certain to be greeted by Moscow and its propaganda machine.

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Read More The Guardian view on the Salisbury poisonings: Russia’s responsibility | Editorial

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