Spy chief says Britain, allies will counter active Russian threat

by Garry Watts September 10, 2018, 3:04
Spy chief says Britain, allies will counter active Russian threat

Following the charges made by British officials against the two men, a UN Security Council meeting has been scheduled.

The leaders of the United States, France, Germany and Canada later said they had "full confidence" in Britain's assessment that officers from Russia's military intelligence service were behind the Novichok attack that almost killed Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.

Two Russian nationals have been named over the novichok poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

She said: "Based on a body of intelligence, the government has concluded that the two individuals named by the police and CPS are officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU".

Britain's security minister on Thursday called out Putin over the nerve agent attack targetingSkripal and his daughter and also warned that the United Kingdom would counter Russian "malign activity" with both public and covert measures.

After this incident, British Prime Minister Theresa May demanded that the Russian government explain how a nerve agent it had designed and should have had control of, ended up on British soil.

Putin's foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov, told reporters in Moscow that the names of the two Russian men suspected in the poisoning "do not mean anything to me".

Two days later, police say they sprayed the nerve agent, Novichok, on the front door of Mr Skripal's home in the Wiltshire city of Salisbury, before travelling home to Russian Federation later that day. They say the names are probably aliases.

Britain's security minister Ben Wallace called out Putin over the attack that used the nerve agent Novichok against the Skripals in Salisbury.

Police said they were aged in their 40s and had travelled on Russian passports arriving at Britain's Gatwick airport at 3pm on Friday, March 2 on Aeroflot flight SU2588 from Moscow.

Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in March by the nerve agent Novichok.

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Britain has said it is not going to seek their extradition because Russian law does not allow for its nationals to be tried overseas.

Earlier, she stated that British Ambassador to Moscow Laurie Bristow declined to provide the fingerprints to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Western officials say Russia's intelligence services have grown increasingly aggressive in their overseas activities.

The pair made the same trip to Salisbury on March 4, where they were seen on CCTV in the vicinity of Mr Skripal's home, where it is believed they sprayed his doorknob with Novichok from a small bottle of perfume.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters Thursday that the accusations leveled against the Russian leader and the government were "unacceptable".

Police believe the nerve agent used to poison the Skripals was smuggled to Britain in a counterfeit Nina Ricci perfume bottle and applied to the front door of Sergei Skripal's house.

The men then discarded the bottle, which was later found by Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley from the nearby town of Amesbury. He was hospitalized and his girlfriend Dawn Sturgess died after being exposed to the contents.

As a result, he said, police are not yet ready to bring charges in the second poisoning.

Tests were carried out on May 4 on that room and it was "deemed safe", Basu said.

Sergei Skripal - a former Russian agent who had been convicted in his homeland of spying for Britain - and his daughter were found collapsed on a bench in the cathedral city of Salisbury, 140 kilometres southwest of London.

They are accused of trying to kill former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with Novichok in the English city of Salisbury on March 4, in an attack London believes was sanctioned by the Kremlin.

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