Newspaper headlines: 'Smiling assassins caught on camera'


Newspaper headlines: ‘Smiling assassins caught on camera’


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Photos of the two men named as suspects in the Novichok nerve agent attacks on former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury stare out from the front pages of Thursday’s papers. The Guardian says the prime minister appeared to point the finger at President Vladimir Putin by telling MPs the pair were Russian military intelligence officers and their actions were “not a rogue operation”.

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The Daily Mail is among several papers to carry an image from CCTV showing the two suspects walking through Salisbury after the 4 March attack. Its headline calls them “Putin’s smiling assassins”.

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The Sun also describes the suspects as “smiling assassins”. They were “dramatically unmasked” and accused of attempted murder and conspiracy to murder after police and intelligence officers combed through 11,000 hours of CCTV footage, says the paper.

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The Daily Express says the men – who called themselves Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov – are believed to be in Russia and unlikely to stand trial in a British court.

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The Metro says the men were caught on camera after smearing the toxin on the front door of Sergei Skripal’s home.

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“Wanted – Britain names Kremlin spies accused of Novichok attack,” reads the headline in the i. The paper says the CCTV images released by police show the “remarkable 48-hour journey” of the suspected assassins after they arrived in the UK.

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The Daily Mirror devotes six pages of coverage to the story. The “grinning Russian spies” were named and charged as the prime minister vowed to “dismantle” the Kremlin network, reports the paper.

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The Times says Theresa May has vowed “revenge” on Russia and is preparing a cyberwar against its spy network to disrupt communication capabilities – as well as obstructing access to finance.

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The Daily Telegraph says the naming of the suspects came on a dramatic day of developments in the case. It quotes senior Whitehall sources as saying they pair were part of a Russian military intelligence squad which is acting “with impunity” to reap chaos around the world.

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The Financial Times says the Crown Prosecution Service named the two Russian military intelligence officers as “prime suspects” in the case. The move is likely to create further tension between London and Moscow, it adds.

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The Salisbury story also features on the front page of the Daily Star. However, the paper leads on the death of BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Rachael Bland, almost two years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

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