Thursday, 26 April, 2018

Russia spied on Skripal and daughter for at least 5 years: UK

Salisbury spy poisoned row REUTERS PA TOMORROW The results of an investigation into the spy poisoning row will be released tomorrow
Jay Anderson | 14 April, 2018, 22:14

MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia are believed to have been poisoned at his Salisbury home by chemicals daubed on his front door.

It published the unusual allegations in an 8,000-word report on the incident after the Kremlin was accused of using a military grade nerve agent in Salisbury, on March 4.

The Skripals have been in Russia's sights for some time, or so alleged the United Kingdom on Friday.

The report concluded: 'The situation around the Skripals looks more and more like a forcible detention or imprisonment'.

The damning claims linking Moscow to the Salisbury attack, which left former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in fighting for their lives, were made in a letter from Britain's national security adviser Sir Mark Sedwill to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg.

Mark Sedwill made the assertion in a letter to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg explaining Britain's conclusion that the Russian government is to blame for poisoning the Skripals with a military-grade nerve agent on March 4.

Turning to "operational experience", Sedwill said Russian had a "proven record of conducting state-sponsored assassination".

"The code word used for the offensive chemical weapons programme (of which the Novichoks were one part) was FOLIANT", he said.

"We didn't produce Novichok, we didn't store this Novichok, so-called under the Western classification, was never in our military forces".




He said it included investigating ways of delivering nerve agents by applying them to door handles.

He questioned the authenticity of a statement issued by Ms Skripal through the Metropolitan Police saying she did not want to meet Russian officials.

He then claimed Russian Federation saw at least some of its defectors as legitimate targets for assassination, suggesting Skripal could be among them.

In his letter, Sedwill outlines how the Soviet Union "developed a new class of "fourth generation" nerve agents, known as Novichoks" during the 1980s and Russian Federation was probably the only former Soviet republic to pursue "an offensive chemical weapons programme after independence". The central element of Britain's case against Russian Federation is the unusual nerve agent used in the attack, which was developed in Soviet laboratories during the last years of the Soviet Union.

Britain blamed Russian Federation for the poisoning and Prime Minister Theresa May said the Skripals had been attacked with a military-grade nerve agent from the Novichok group of poisons, developed by the Soviet Union.

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador has accused the British authorities of destroying evidence in the Salisbury nerve agent attack. Sergei Kripal remains hospitalised, but British health officials say he is recovering.

Russian Federation has charged that British officials were keeping Skripal's daughter in isolation. It demanded access to her and prodded Britain to share evidence in the case.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov speaks to the media a joint news conference with Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra following their talks, in Moscow, Russia, Friday, April 13, 2018. He said Moscow has "irrefutable information that it was a fabrication".

Finally, on the motive, Sedwill said Sergei Skripal was a former Russian military intelligence (GRU) officer, convicted of espionage in 2004.

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