A PAIR of Russian spies who are accused of carrying out last year's Novichok attack in Salisbury have 'almost certainly been promoted' and 'are living the high life', a former intelligence officer has said.

Colonel Richard Kemp says chief poisoning suspects Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov have likely been protected, promoted, and 'congratulated on a bold job', he told the Mirror.

Salisbury Journal: Yulia Skripal with her father, Sergei, in Zizzi Salisbury on a previous visit

The duo were named as primary suspects in the failed assassination of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal, who along with his daughter daughter Yulia survived being poisoned last March.

However, local Dawn Sturgess, pictured below, died after coming into contact with the Novichok nerve agent after she and her boyfriend Charlie Rowley found the perfume bottle used to contain the deadly substance.

Salisbury Journal: Dawn Sturgess

Colonel Kemp, formerly of the UK's Joint Intelligence Organisation and a Government terror adviser, told the national paper: "Russia has learned it can make up for inferior capability in its military by using chemical weapons to deadly effect."

He added that there was 'zero' chance Petrov and Boshirov would face justice.