(CNN)The suspects of the 2018 novichok nerve agent poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, England, have been linked to a 2014 blast in the Czech Republic that killed two people.
Russian suspects in Salisbury poisoning linked to blast in Czech Republic
Czech police said Saturday that they were searching for two men in connection with a serious crime. Czech police released images matching those of the Salisbury suspects, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. UK officials said the men are behind a 2014 explosion at an ammunition depot in Vrbetice.
The Czech police added that the men are known to be carrying various passports, including Russian passports with Petrov and Boshirov's names.
Moscow has denied any involvement with the Salisbury incident, and the men who identified themselves as Petrov and Boshirov claimed they briefly visited the historic cathedral city as tourists. Putin has said the two men identified as suspects are "not criminals."
The UK foreign office said on Sunday: "It has been announced by the Czech authorities that the two GRU Officers that were charged with the attempted murder of the Skripals in Salisbury, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, were also behind the deaths of two civilians and an explosion in the Czech town of Vrbetice."
Czech police say the men were in the Czech Republic between October 11 and October 16 of 2014, and added they also carried passports from Moldova and Tajikistan, under the names of Nicolai Popa and Ruslan Tabarov respectively.
Shortly before the announcement, the Czech Republic said it would expel 18 employees of the Russian Embassy in Prague in retaliation for the 2014 explosion, which caused huge financial and environmental damage.