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UK police charge 3rd Russian in 2018 poisoning of ex-spy

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UK police charge 3rd Russian in 2018 poisoning of ex-spy

By SYLVIA HUI

LONDON (AP) — British police said Tuesday they are charging a third Russian suspect, a member of the country’s military intelligence service, in the 2018 nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in England.

Prosecutors believe there is sufficient evidence to charge Denis Sergeev, who went by the alias “Sergey Fedotov,” with conspiracy to murder, attempted murder, possessing and using a chemical weapon, and causing grievous bodily harm, according to London’s Metropolitan Police force.

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were targeted in a nerve agent attack in March 2018 in the English city of Salisbury. British authorities say the poisoning had almost certainly been approved “at a senior level of the Russian state.” Moscow has vehemently denied the allegations.

The Skripals survived, but the attack later claimed the life of a British woman and left a man and a police officer seriously ill.

Police previously charged two other Russian military intelligence agents, known by the aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, saying they traveled to the U.K. for the poisoning operation then flew back to Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed the suspects were civilians, and the two suspects appeared on Russian television claiming they had visited Salisbury as tourists.

Police said Tuesday they have evidence that the third suspect, Sergeev, was also a member of the Russian military intelligence service known as the GRU.

Arrest warrants have been issued for all three men. Police said they will apply for Interpol notices for Sergeev on Tuesday, but British prosecutors said they will not apply to Russia for his extradition because the Russian constitution does not permit extradition of its own nationals.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged that “any formal extradition request is futile” while the suspects remain in Russia.

“Should any of these individuals ever travel outside Russia, we will work with our international partners and take every possible step to detain and extradite them to face justice,” Home Secretary Priti Patel told Parliament members Tuesday.

Skripal, a Russian military intelligence officer turned double agent for Britain, and his daughter, who was visiting him in England, spent weeks in critical condition after the attack.

Three months after the pair fell sick, two local residents who apparently picked up a discarded perfume vial that contained the nerve agent fell ill. One recovered, but the other died. A police officer who was investigating the case also fell ill; he recovered but later quit the force.

The case ignited a diplomatic confrontation in which hundreds of envoys were expelled by both Russia and Western nations.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Britain continued to use the Skripal case to “fuel anti-Russian sentiment in British society.”

“We strongly condemn all attempts by London to hold Moscow responsible for what happened in Salisbury and insist on a professional, objective and impartial investigation of the incident,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told reporters.

Zakharova said Russia was prepared to cooperate with British law enforcement but London rejected the idea of a joint investigation.

A senior British counter-terrorism officer who has been leading the investigation, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, said investigators have pieced together evidence suggesting that all three suspects “previously worked with each other and on behalf of the Russian state as part of operations carried out outside of Russia.”

“All three of them are dangerous individuals,” he said. “They have tried to murder people here in the U.K, and they have also brought an extremely dangerous chemical weapon into the U.K. by means unknown.”

Haydon appealed for anyone who saw the three Russians in the U.K. in March 2018 to come forward.

Online investigative website Bellingcat previously reported that Sergeev was a high-ranking GRU officer and a graduate of Russia’s Military Diplomatic Academy. The website said he was suspected of involvement in the poisoning of an arms manufacturer, his son and a factory manager in Bulgaria in 2015.

Christo Grozev, an investigative journalist with Bellingcat, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Sergeev appeared to have played a “coordinating, supervising” role in the Salisbury poisoning.

Grozev called the Metropolitan Police force’s announcement a “validation” of the group’s findings about Sergeev.

___

Daria Litvinova and Daniel Kozin contributed to this report from Moscow.

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Ex-Patriot Martellus Bennett rips QB Jimmy Garoppolo, credits Dolphins’ Jacoby Brissett’s toughness on podcast | Video

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50 Colo. Time dealers, Wells are auto fame inductees

Former New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett tore into 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, saying the ex-Patriots quarterback bailed out on the Pats hours before a 2016 game against the Buffalo Bills during the four-game Tom Brady suspension that began that season.

Bennett joined Miami Dolphins defensive back Jason McCourty and his twin brother, Devin, on their Double Coverage With The McCourty Twins podcast, and, during a wide-ranging stream-of-consciousness soliloquy, had an expletive-laced screed against Garoppolo, who played in New England from 2014-17. He also spoke about current Dolphins backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who also played for the Patriots then.

Said Bennett of Garoppolo and Brissett: “Bro, we lost two games [in 2016]. One of ‘em was because Jimmy Garoppolo was being a b—- and didn’t, and tried to quit, he quit for us on the last… decided not to play right before the game. So we went out there. Jacoby came out and played with a f—ed-up thumb and gave his … played his heart out. … You can’t win with a b—- for a quarterback. … He didn’t want to come out and do anything because his agent was trying to protect his body… which I can’t fault him for that, but, like you should have made that decision on Thursday, not Sunday.”

Talking to Jason McCourty, Bennett went on to savage the Dolphins for losing to the Jaguars: “Sometimes you get these losses where it’s just kind of like, ‘Damn.’ … Just like y’all losing to Jacksonville, right. Y’all lost to Jacksonville recently. Like, losing to Jacksonville has to hurt. ‘How are we the team that loses to Jacksonville? Like, everybody else, Jacksonville has lost [sic] 30 games in a row, and we will be the ones to break the 30-game losing streak?’ Like, come on, man! Nobody wants to lose to Jacksonville.”

With the conversation often referencing the Patriots, Devin McCourty, who has been with Bill Belichick for all 12 years of his NFL career, generally remained quiet as Bennett went off, allowing current Miami Dolphin and ex-Patriot Jason McCourty — who played in New England from 2018-20 — to respond and move the discussion forward.

Bennett also colorfully critiqued Jason Garrett and John Fox, his former coaches with the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears respectively. Bennett played for five teams in a 10-year NFL career from 2008-17.

©2021 South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Visit sun-sentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Virginia Beach’s Bruce Smith scared NFL quarterbacks to death. He has the tombstones to prove it.

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50 Colo. Time dealers, Wells are auto fame inductees

Bruce Smith was known for striking fear into opposing quarterbacks during his playing days in the NFL.

Now, as Halloween approaches, Smith’s neighbors can see just how many QBs he terrorized during his hall of fame career.

Inspired by a Twitter post from Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett, Smith’s friends — Paul Holley and Mike Hillier — got the idea to come up with a similar Halloween attraction.

Holley and Hillier arranged a slate of gravestones painted with the name and number of the NFL quarterbacks Smith sacked during his 15 seasons with the Buffalo Bills and four with Washington. Smith is the NFL’s all-time sack leader with 200, and 76 different quarterbacks — some many times — were his victims.

“We were playing golf with Bruce and we saw where someone had tweeted a picture of his graveyard with seven or eight tombstones of quarterbacks he had sacked,” Holley said, referring to Garrett. “I showed Bruce and asked him how many had he sacked. And he said, ‘76.’ So we said, ‘Let’s show him what a real graveyard looks like.’”

It only took a few minutes to convince Smith.

“Myles Garrett actually gave us the idea, and they thought it would be pretty cool for Halloween, for football fans, for kids to come by and take pictures and maybe get a football card or some candy,” said Smith, who played at Norfolk’s Booker T. Washington High and Virginia Tech and now lives in Virginia Beach. “You think of the number 200 sacks. And that’s just in the regular season. But then when you see the number of tombstones that have been amassed, and some of these guys I got to multiple times, then you kind of get a better picture and understanding of the career and of the accomplishments. And just an appreciation for the longevity that took place. “

Smith’s planted a who’s who of NFL quarterbacks, including Joe Montana, Steve Young, Warren Moon, John Elway and Troy Aikman.

But there is one legendary signal-caller who stood out to Smith.

“I don’t care too much for quarterbacks,” Smith said with a smile. “But for me, it was always Dan Marino. He was in the AFC East. He was the least sacked quarterback in that era because of his quick release. So it always gave me a great deal of satisfaction to get through some of those blockers and be able to get to him.”

Smith said his yard attraction couldn’t have been possible without the amazing work of artist Sam Clayman.

A lifelong Washington Football Team fan, Clayman was honored when Holley reached out to him about designing the styrofoam tombstones two weeks ago.

“I had other commitments and responsibilities throughout the week, so I had the weekends to do it,” he said. “I would wake up at 6:30 in the morning and work until I didn’t have any light left. Two very full weekends. But it was fun, though. And it was a challenge.”

Clayman said he’s used to doing paintings and clay sculptures, but this was a different challenge.

“But this was fun because it was something different outside of what I ordinarily do,” said Clayman, who also had help from Paul Ceballo. “It’s humbling. I’ve done a lot of work for some pretty high-profile talent from the area. It’s just icing on the cake when they happen to be a legend in their career.”

Larry Rubama, 757-446-2273, [email protected] Follow @LHRubama on Twitter.

©2021 The Virginian-Pilot. Visit pilotonline.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Broncos podcast: Denver, riding four-game losing skid, hosts Washington in must-win Week 8

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Broncos podcast: Denver, riding four-game losing skid, hosts Washington in must-win Week 8


Ryan O’Halloran

| Broncos reporter

Ryan O’Halloran has been covering the Broncos for The Post since 2018 and has covered the NFL since 2004. A native of North Dakota and graduate of Kansas State, O’Halloran previously covered the Washington Redskins for eight years, primarily at The Washington Times, and the Jacksonville Jaguars for six years at The Florida Times-Union. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors seven times for his work. He was named Colorado Sportswriter of the Year in 2019.

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