UK Believes Russia Has Spied on Skripals Since 2013
14 April, 2018, 22:19 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
Russian special services have been monitoring Sergei and Yulia Skripal for at least five years, as it was stated in the letter of Mark Sedwill, the National Security Adviser, to Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato Secretary General, as Sky News reported.
Regarding the Skripals themselves, Sedwill claims that email accounts belonging to Yulia Skripal were targeted by Russian intelligence agents in 2013, "indicating Russian intelligence service interest in the Skripals". 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.
Scientists from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPWC) confirmed Thursday that Novichok was used in Salisbury, England in the attack on Skripal.
The strongest concentration of the Novichok nerve agent found in the Salisbury incident was on the front door handle of Mr Skripal's home.
Russia's ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, said on Friday that the claims that his country's intelligence agencies spied on the Skripals were a "big surprise", but added that he had not yet seen Sedwill's letter.
Sedwill also said Russia had a clear motive for attacking Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer who had been imprisoned in Russia for spying for Britain, only to be set free in a spy swap.
Sedwill said "credible open-source reporting and intelligence" showed that in the 1980s the Soviet Union developed a family of nerve agents known as Novichoks at a base in Shikhany near Volgograd.
Sir Mark said Russian Federation had a "proven record of conducting state-sponsored assassination" and that it was "highly likely" some defectors may be regarded as "legitimate targets".
"This program subsequently included investigation of ways of delivering nerve agents, including by application to door handles", he wrote, according to the Guardian.
Also Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded to an global chemical weapons watchdog's report on the poisoning.
Russia's ambassador to the United Kingdom said the claim that Russian intelligence had been interested in the Skripals since at least 2013 came as a "big surprise".
'The Russian state has previously produced Novichoks and would still be capable of doing so'. "Within the last decade, Russian Federation has produced and stockpiled small quantities of novichok under the same program".
Lavrov said the report does nothing to back the British allegations that Moscow was behind the attack.
"Mr. Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russian Federation", specifically from the Novichok group, British Prime Minister Theresa May said after the incident, based on an assessment by British experts. Her father remains hospitalized but British health officials say he is improving.
"I want to underline: the OPCW only has confirmed the composition of the chemical agent", Lavrov said at a news conference.
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