The family of a mum killed by novichok following the Salisbury poisonings is taking legal action against the Russian state over her death.
Dawn Sturgess, 44, died four months after former MI6 agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were exposed to the deadly nerve agent.
Dawn unknowingly sprayed herself with the poison, contained in a perfume bottle believed to have been discarded by two Russian military officers wanted for Skripal’s attempted assassination.
Lawyers for Dawn’s family have begun proceedings at the High Court under the European Convention on Human Rights.
The action gives them the right to sue in the future but they have not lodged papers detailing the case.
The respondents are the Russian Federation, its Ministry of Defence and military intelligence service.
A London court could rule on whether Dawn died due to a Russian state-sponsored hit.
The case can only be heard after an inquest is completed, which is expected to be next year.
It is due to examine who was behind the killing.
The inquest’s scope was widened following a judicial review by the lawyers for the family.
They claimed the operation was sanctioned by the Russian state, possibly from as high up as Vladimir Putin.
Prosecutors authorised Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov to be charged with conspiracy to murder and attempted murder.
European arrest warrants have been issued but no charges have been brought.
The Skripals survived the novichok attack on March 4, 2018.
In June 2018, Dawn and partner Charlie Rowley were poisoned near Salisbury, Wilts, after he found a bottle containing novichok.
He recovered but Dawn died.
Novichok poisoning latest
Earlier this year Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Lewis said there was no realistic prospect of a criminal trial here.
They ruled Dawn’s inquest should examine possible Russian state involvement.
Dawn’s dad Stan has said previously: “We want to get to the truth.”