Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Russian Federation 'was spying on ex-double agent for five years'

Russian Federation 'was spying on ex-double agent for five years'

"We get the impression that the British Government is deliberately pursuing the policy of destroying all possible evidence, classifying all remaining materials in making an independent and transparent investigation impossible", Mr Yakovenko said.

Cyber specialists from the GRU - Moscow's Main Intelligence Directorate - targeted email accounts belonging to Miss Skripal as long ago as 2013, and possibly even before that, according to newly-declassified British intelligence.

The UK's national security adviser Sir Mark Sedwill revealed details of the UK intelligence that led it to conclude the Russian state was "highly likely" behind the assassination attempt on ex-spy Sergei Skripal in March. I mean, after all, 15 exiled Russians in the United Kingdom have been poisoned in the past 20 years or so.

Yulia and her father Sergei, a former Russian double agent, were found on March 4 slumped over on a park bench in Salisbury, a quiet city in the southwest of England.

In the letter, Sedwill said the Soviet Union developed fourth generation nerve agents known as Novichoks in the 1980s at the State Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology near Volgograd under the codeword FOLIANT.

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Sedwill believes the Russians developed these Novichoks "to prevent detection by the West and to circumvent worldwide chemical weapons control".

"Russia and the USSR never developed such chemical substances". The country failed to "report any work on Novichoks" in its CWC declaration.

But Mr Sedwill's letter claimed that "in the mid-2000s, President Putin was closely involved in the Russian chemical weapons programme".

In a letter to Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Sir Mark also said that in the 2000s the Russians had begun a programme to train personnel from "special units" in the use of chemical warfare agents. It insists that the nerve agent used on the Skripals could easily have been manufactured in any of the other countries that have advanced chemical research programs.

Prime Minister Theresa May's government has said Russian Federation was known to have used it, and pointed to the country's pattern of "reckless behaviour", including the annexation of Crimea. The global watchdog's hotly anticipated report Thursday also noted that the toxic chemical - which the group declined to name in the unclassified report - had an "almost complete absence of impurities".

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According to the embassy's maycommentary, "the case against Russian Federation is based on three elements: the identification of the chemical agent, far-fetched speculations and conclusions regarding the "operational experience" and "motive", as well as unverifiable 'intelligence'".

"BZ is a nerve agent that temporarily incapacitates a person", Lavrov said, adding that the chemical was used by the military of the US, Britain and other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members.

Yakovenko also questioned the authenticity of a statement in which Yulia Skripal, who was discharged from hospital earlier this week, turned down Russian consular assistance.

Skripal confirmed that she was safe and had specially trained officers available to her during the recovery. Britain has spurned that offer and continued to blame them. "At the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services, but if I change my mind I know how to contact them".

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