Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

Russian Federation has been spying on Skripals for five years, security adviser says

Russia on Skripal no confirmation of poison origin in new report Russia on Skripal no confirmation of poison origin in new report
Carol Daniels | 14 April, 2018, 14:41

It was "highly likely", he said, that some defectors - like Mr Skripal, a former GRU officer who was convicted of treason in 2006 and exchanged in a spy swap in 2010 - were regarded as "legitimate targets".

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.

Alexander Yakovenko also accused the British authorities of destroying evidence in the Salisbury attack and said the British government had yet to produce the evidence to back its claims that Russian Federation was responsible.

The Skripals were targeted by a nerve agent attack that left both of them critically ill for weeks.

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.

"It is highly likely that Novichoks were developed to prevent detection by the West and to circumvent worldwide chemical weapons controls", 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.

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He confirmed Russia's receipt on Thursday of a classified report from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which the organization sent after confirming Britain's identification of a toxic agent used in the poisoning.

He said Russian Federation had a "proven record of conducting state-sponsored assassination", including the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

The claims come after the global Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons backed Britain's assertion the Skripals were poisoned by Novichok.

The OPCW tested samples from Salisbury in four laboratories and confirmed the UK's conclusion about the substance that had been used.

Mr Lavrov said the report only confirmed the composition of the substance and that Britain's claim that it confirmed the United Kingdom position on the Skripal case was overstated.

"So you only remove the impurities if you are trying to make it hard for people to point the finger back at you". Her father remains in the hospital but British health officials say he is improving.

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