Russian Federation spies Skripals for five years

14 April, 2018, 20:18 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson answers a question during a news conference after his meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias in Athens on Thursday

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.

If somebody was spying, why were the British services not complaining about that, he said.

"We have information indicating Russian intelligence service interest in the Skripals, dating back at least as far as 2013 when email accounts belonging to Yulia Skripal were targeted by GRU (military intelligence) cyber specialists", he said. He reiterated Russia's dismay over the British government's refusal to allow Russian diplomats access to Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who was also poisoned, saying that from Moscow's point of view, the two Russian nationals appear to have been abducted by the British authorities.

Sir Mark said: "There is no plausible alternative explanation", adding that Russian Federation had continued to produce and stockpile small quantities of Novichok within the last decade.

Sedwill also said that Russian Federation has tested means of delivering chemical agents "including by application to door handles", pointing out that the highest concentration of the chemical found after the attack was on Skripal's front door handle.

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".

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.




Turning to "operational experience", Sedwill said Russian had a "proven record of conducting state-sponsored assassination". "The Russian state has previously produced Novichoks and would still be capable of doing so".

He said that Russian Federation had continued to produce and stockpile small quantities of Novichoks within the last decade.

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

Also on Friday, Russia's London Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko held a press conference to further question Britain's conclusions about the incident.

Police officers guard the cordoned off area around the home of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, Britain, April 3, 2018.

Yakovenko also said a refusal to their demands to provide consular assistance to Yulia Skripal - a Russian citizen - was a breach of the Vienna Convention.

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