British intelligence already sees Kremlin behind ex-spy’s poisoning, say sources

Sergei SkripalBritain’s counterintelligence service is nearing the conclusion that a foreign government, most likely Russia, tried to kill a Russian double spy and his daughter, who are now fighting for their lives in a British hospital. Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, are said to remain in critical condition, after falling violently ill on Sunday afternoon while walking in downtown Salisbury, a picturesque cathedral city in south-central England. Skripal arrived in England in 2010 as part of a large-scale spy-swap between the United States, Britain and Russia. He was among four Russian citizens that Moscow released from prison and allowed to resettle in the West, in exchange for 10 Russian deep-cover intelligence officers, who had been arrested earlier that year by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States.

Since Skripal’s poisoning made headlines on Monday morning, the basic details of his story have been reported extensively. He is believed to have served in Soviet and Russian military intelligence for several decades, rising to the rank of colonel. But in 2004 he was arrested and eventually convicted by Russian authorities for spying on behalf of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). He had served nearly 7 years of a 13-year sentence in 2010, when he was pardoned by then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and allowed to resettle in England with his immediate family. He did so in Salisbury, where he was found in a near-fatal state last Sunday, slumped on a street bench next to his equally catatonic daughter. Inevitably, the story brought back memories of the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, a former officer in the Soviet and Russian intelligence services, who defected to Britain but was poisoned to death with a radioactive substance in 2006. His murder prompted London to expel four Russian diplomats from Britain, a move that was countered by Moscow, which also expelled four British diplomats from the country.

Despite the close parallels between Litvinenko and Skripal, the British government has not publicly blamed Russia for Sunday’s attempted killing. But according to The Times newspaper, officials at the Security Service (MI5), Britain’s counterintelligence agency, are already pointing to Russia as the culprit of the attempt on Skripal’s life. The London-based paper cited anonymous sources in Whitehall, the administrative headquarters of the British government, who said that MI5 experts were already briefing government officials about the details of the assassination attempt by Russian government agents.

Actions taken by the British government in the past 24 hours also point to Whitehall viewing the attempt on Skripal’s life as an operation sponsored by a state, most likely by Russia. The investigation of the incident is now being led by the counterterrorism branch of the Metropolitan Police Service in London. Additionally, samples of the victims’ tissue, as well as blood and other bodily fluids, have been sent for examination by toxicologists at the Ministry of Defence’s top-secret Science and Technology Laboratory in Porton Down. It also emerged last night that British Home Secretary Amber Rudd has called an emergency meeting of the British government’s Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms (COBR, also known as Cobra) group, which she chairs. The group consists of cabinet ministers, senior civil servants, and the leadership of the Metropolitan Police and the intelligence services, who meet to respond to developing emergencies of a national scale.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 06 March 2018 | Permalink

5 Responses to British intelligence already sees Kremlin behind ex-spy’s poisoning, say sources

  1. Anonymous says:

    A good advice Look deep in the WACL group and there accomplices !

  2. Charlie says:

    Could you be a little more specific? What exactly is the WACL? The only group I know with that moniker is the World Anti-Communist League. Surely you don’t mean them? :)

  3. Charlie says:

    The daughter was collateral damage. You will note the first police officer that showed up to check on them is also in the hospital in serious condition just from getting near them well after they were dosed. As for Skripal’s light sentence the Russians seem to dole out what could be considered “light” sentences frequently for spies, often under 20 years. It is very odd, especially since they go to extreme lengths to kill traitors once they are outside Russia. Skripal certainly caused a lot of damage. He was in personnel in the GRU for a good bit of his spying career and turned over all sorts of material, including the names of many agents. The “message” is simple and Putin made it clear in that 2010 at the time of the spy swap, in an interview which is now getting play again in light of this hit. “They are going to kick the bucket.” The U.S. tends to give out much heavier sentences with a minimum of 25 years for really serious cases (Pollard, Montes) and, of course. life sentences for the most serious, like Ames or Hanssen. Hanssen is probably the most damaging individual spy ever and was sent straight to Supermax in Colorado which is highly unusual, and is a real indicator of the amount of damage he caused. Everyone talks about the FBI/NSA tunnel house he gave away (which I located on Fulton Street NW) but he gave away the US government “SIOP” plan as to how the US would react in the event of nuclear attack plus all sorts of other sensitive stuff. He was a real disaster.

  4. Greg says:

    There are no rules observed these days. A message is sent through any means, including families. Colonel Kuklinski and his family, Litvinienko, Colnel Skripal and his daughter…

    I suppose these actions are a reflection of who runs the office.

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