The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has said that it will not be applying to Russia for the extradition of the two men, but a European Arrest Warrant has been obtained.
Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Neil Basu said it is likely the suspects were travelling under aliases and Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names.
They are believed to be aged around 40.
Mr Basu has called the charging of the two suspects as the “most significant moment so far in the complex and intensive investigation”.
He said: “Today’s announcement by the CPS marks the most significant development in this investigation. We now have sufficient evidence to bring charges in relation to the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury and domestic and European arrest warrants have been issued for the two suspects. We are also seeking to circulate Interpol Red Notices.
“However, our enquiries do not stop here; and today, as well as updating you about the progress of the investigation, I am appealing once more to the public for their help, as we continue to build our evidence in this case.”
Sue Hemming, CPS Director of Legal Services, said:
“Prosecutors from CPS Counter Terrorism Division have considered the evidence and have concluded there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and it is clearly in the public interest to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who are Russian nationals, with the following offences:
• Conspiracy to murder Sergei Skripal
• Attempted murder of Sergei Skripal, Yulia Skripal and Nick Bailey
• Use and possession of Novichok contrary to the Chemical Weapons Act
• Causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Yulia Skripal and Nick Bailey
More to follow…