Russian-UK Relations May Be Poisoned after Suspicious Incident

One week after a former Russian double agent and his daughter were poisoned in a British city, British health authorities are today advising city residents to take precautionary actions, while law enforcement continue to investigate the poisoning as yet another suspicious Russia-linked incident in Britain.


Sergei Skripal, 66, is a Russian ex-military intelligence specialist officer who acted as a double agent for Britain. He was arrested by Russia in 2004 and convicted of spying for Britain in 2006 but pardoned and released in 2010 as part of the Illegals Program spy swap.

On March 4th, he and his 33-year-old daughter were discovered unconscious on a park bench. Hospital staff found traces of a nerve agent and concluded they had been poisoned.

Russia has denied any involvement in the incident, but a recent string of suspicious deaths has pushed some lawmakers and law enforcement to call for an investigation into the Russian government.

It is unclear how this incident will affect Britain’s relationship with Russia. The Guardian writes about the ramifications of the poisoning:

The attempted murder of Sergei Skripal has shed uncomfortable light on Britain’s vulnerability to foreign threats, some potentially emanating from foreign governments, against its sovereignty, security, citizens’ safety and laws.

The brazen nature and public execution of the plot to kill Skripal is disturbing for many reasons. It suggests respect for Britain, its values and its law enforcement capabilities is so diminished that it is seen as an easy venue for score-settling.

Or was the plot intended, at least in part, to deliberately discredit and humiliate the British government? A handful of countries might have cause to do that. But only one or two possess the rare nerve agent, the sheer malice and the ruthless audacity evident in this case.


In the meantime, Skripal and his daughter remain in critical condition, as does the police officer who was sent to Skripal’s home and was subsequently hospitalized, and authorities are investigating the poisoning as attempted murder.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.


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