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Alexander Petrov (L) and Ruslan Boshirov (R). Photo: Metropolitan Police

U.K. police have charged two alleged Russian intelligence officers, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, with conspiracy to murder, attempted murder and illegal use of a nerve agent in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England earlier this year.

The big picture: The poisoning has been the source of a tense diplomatic rift between Russia and the U.K. The Trump administration backed London by certifying that Russia used chemical weapons, triggering automatic sanctions, but has sought to meet with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in the hope of avoiding another escalation with Moscow.

The details: Police say Petrov and Boshirov, which are believed to be aliases, fled to Moscow on March 5, a day after the poisoning. Russian law currently prohibits the extradition of its own citizens, but the U.K. has obtained a European Arrest Warrant.

  • Prime Minister Theresa May said in a speech to Parliament that based on a body of intelligence, the suspects were officers of the GRU — the Russian military intelligence service that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has accused of running an active cyber operation to interfere in the 2016 U.S presidential election.
  • "The GRU is a highly disciplined organization with a well-established chain of command," May said. "So this was not a rogue operation. It was almost certainly also approved outside of the GRU, at a senior level of the Russian state."
  • The two men are also now prime suspects in the death of Dawn Sturgess, a British woman who was exposed to Novichok in June.

Go deeper

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat down with CNN on Thursday for their first joint interview since the election.

The big picture: In the hour-long segment, the twosome laid out plans for responding to the pandemic, jump-starting the economy and managing the transition of power, among other priorities.

The quick FCC fix that would get more students online

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the pandemic forces students out of school, broadband deployment programs aren't going to move fast enough to help families in immediate need of better internet access. But Democrats at the Federal Communications Commission say the incoming Biden administration could put a dent in that digital divide with one fast policy change.

State of play: An existing FCC program known as E-rate provides up to $4 billion for broadband at schools, but Republican FCC chairman Ajit Pai has resisted modifying the program during the pandemic to provide help connecting students at home.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

America's hidden depression

Biden introduces his pick for Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, on Dec. 1. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Biden faces a fragile recovery that could easily fall apart, as the economy remains in worse shape than most people think.

Why it matters: There is a recovery happening. But it's helping some people immensely and others not at all. And it's that second part that poses a massive risk to the Biden-Harris administration's chance of success.