Boris Johnson warns Russia over spy collapse

Image copyright Yulia Skripal/Facebook
Image caption Yulia Skripal and her dad Sergei are critically ill within hospital

The UK would respond “robustly” to any evidence of Russian involvement within the collapse of former spy Sergei Skripal, Boris Johnson has said.

Mr Skripal, 66, great daughter Yulia, 33, are significantly ill in hospital after getting found unconscious in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

The foreign admin said he was not pointing fingertips at this stage, but described Russia because “a malign and disruptive force”.

Russia has refused any involvement.

Downing Street said Home Secretary Silpada Rudd will chair a meeting associated with Cobra, the government’s emergency panel, on Wednesday to discuss the Salisbury investigation.

Counter Terrorism Police have taken over the investigation through Wiltshire Police.

However in a statement, the unit said the particular inquiry had not been declared a terrorist incident and there was no danger to the wider public.

Family fatalities

Relatives of Mister Skripal – a former Russian colonel convicted of spying for The uk – have told the BBC Russian Service that he believed the particular Russian special services might arrive after him at any time.

His wife, elder brother great son have died in the past 2 yrs, some in mysterious circumstances, your family believe.

Ms Skripal lives in Moscow and has visited the girl father in the UK regularly, especially in the last two years.

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Media caption CCTV video footage shows a man and woman strolling near the bench where Sergei plus Yulia Skripal were found

Mister Skripal and his daughter were discovered slumped and unconscious on a along with outside a shopping centre upon Sunday afternoon.

LOW LUX footage has been released by law enforcement which appears to show the set walking through an alleyway near the Zizzi restaurant shortly before these people collapsed.

Police possess since sealed off the restaurant as well as the Bishop’s Mill pub was also cordoned off as a precaution. On Wednesday evening, police extended the cordon and shut off a bridge.

Eyewitness Jamie Paine stated the woman he saw was handed out, frothing at the mouth plus her eyes “were wide open yet completely white”.

This individual added: “The man went rigid, his arms stopped moving yet he was still looking deceased straight. ”

2 police officers caught up in the suspected contaminants have been treated in hospital designed for minor symptoms, before they were provided the all clear. It is realized their symptoms included itchy eye and wheezing.

A third person in the emergency services remains within hospital.

Scientists on Porton Down – the United kingdoms’s secret weapons research facility within Wiltshire – are studying the particular “unknown substance”.

Upon Tuesday evening, BBC Newsnight’s diplomatic editor Mark Urban said you can find concerns the pair’s conditions can worsen.

Inspite of the sending of samples, scientists possess still not identified the chemical and one official at Porton Lower said “we are treating signs and symptoms rather than causes”, Urban said.

Speaking in the Commons upon Tuesday, Mr Johnson said: “Honourable members will note the echoes of the death of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

“I say to governments around the world that simply no attempt to take innocent life upon UK soil will go unsanctioned or even unpunished. ”

Mister Johnson said the UK was “in the lead across the world” within trying to counteract a “host associated with malign activity” by Russia.

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Media caption “He was doing strange hands movements, looking up to the sky”: What we should know so far

Russia has was adamant it has “no information” about what might have led to the incident, but states it is open to co-operating with Uk police if requested.

In a statement, the Russian embassy working in london said : “Media reports produce an impression of a planned operation from the Russian special services, which is totally untrue. ”

Addressing Mr Johnson’s comments, the charge added: “Looks like the script associated with yet another anti-Russian campaign has been currently written. ”

BBC Newsnight’s diplomatic editor Mark Metropolitan said Boris Johnson’s strongly-worded declaration indicates that the Government is “party to some kind of intelligence”.

“It’s evident from the foreign secretary’s statement, and certainly the watch in Whitehall is, he would not need gone this far unless the federal government was party to some kind of intelligence as to what had gone on, ” Urban mentioned.

Who is Sergei Skripal?

Image caption Col Skripal, 66, have been living in Salisbury after being released simply by Russia in 2010

Colonel Skripal, a outdated Russian military intelligence officer, has been jailed for 13 years simply by Russia in 2006.

He was convicted of transferring the identities of Russian cleverness agents working undercover in European countries to the UK’s Secret Intelligence Provider, MI6.

In Come july 1st 2010, he was one of 4 prisoners released by Moscow in return for 10 Russian spies caught by the FBI as part of a exchange. He was later flown towards the UK.

According to BBC Newsnight’s diplomatic editor Mark Metropolitan, in recent years Col Skripal gave classes at military academies offering regarding Russia’s foreign military intelligence company, the GRU.

Read more about Sergei Skripal’s background here.

Putin, power and poison: Russia’ h elite FSB spy club

Tony Brenton, the former British ambassador to Russia, suggested that Mister Skripal would have had many opponents – including many former co-workers

He said: “The fact that he blew a whole range associated with Russian agents, there may be personal animosities there.

“In most Russians’ minds he would end up being categorised as a traitor. There are individuals there who would be delighted to find out him dead. ”

The possibility of an unexplained substance becoming involved has drawn comparisons with all the 06\ poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko .

The Russian andersdenker and former intelligence officer passed away in London after drinking tea laced with a radioactive substance.

A public inquiry concluded that his killing got probably been carried out with the acceptance of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

Andrei Lugovoi, the previous Russian agent accused of poisoning Litvinenko but who denies the particular claims, told the BBC that will Russia would have considered the matter shut when Mr Skripal was flown to the UK as part of a secret agent swap in 2010.

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Media caption Andrei Lugovoi, a suspect in the Litvinenko poisoning, rejects suggestions that Russia had been behind Sergei Skripal’s collapse

Mister Skripal was pardoned by the Ruskies President and so the incident was more than, Mr Lugovoi said.

Igor Sutyagin, who was one of 4 agents released by Moscow within the exchange, is now a research fellow in the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

He told the particular BBC’s World Tonight programme which he was not yet concerned for their safety and added: “I don’t believe that he (Mr Skripal) would be focused, because he was pardoned. ”

But Mr Litvinenko’s widow, Marina Litvinenko, told the program that the latest incident felt like “deja vu” – and called for those people receiving political asylum to be shielded by the UK.

In the mean time, the Home Affairs Committee has asked for an overview into 14 deaths that have not been treated since suspicious by British police yet have reportedly been identified as possibly linked to Russia.

The reaction within Russia

Simply by BBC Monitoring

Russian state TV’s coverage from the possible poisoning in the UK of previous agent Sergei Skripal has been odd, to say the least. State TV remains the primary source of news for most Russians.

The main official TV route, Rossiya 1, covered the story in the morning, but studiously ignored any assessment with the poisoning in 2006 associated with former Russian FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko, which has been a prominent function of reports in the UK media.

This evening, the main primetime bulletin on Rossiya 1 as well as the two other main Russian TELEVISION stations, Channel One and NTV, did not touch the story.

The oddities in the protection did not stop there, though. Upon Rossiya 24, the country’s primary news channel and the sister funnel to Rossiya 1, the Skripal case was the main story tonite, with a report accusing the UK specialists and media of conspiring in order to blacken Russia’s name. The speaker described the case as a “new traditional in British conspirology”

The popular tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda explained the case as “another scandal using a dash of Russophobia”.

Russian news agencies reported the particular indignation expressed by officials because they criticised Boris Johnson’s warning in order to Russia.

“The demonisation of Russia”, said a Russian charge press release.

“This is preposterous, ” the International Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has been quoted as telling Interfax information agency.

Mister Johnson’s comments are “unacceptable” and “extremely bad faith, ” mentioned Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the Worldwide Affairs Committee of the Federation Authorities of the upper house of parliament.

Analysis

By Norman Smith, BBC associate political editor

Although Boris Johnson was cautious to stress this was still a continuous investigation – it’s absolutely crystal clear he, and others in government, think it’s highly likely this was an eastern european state-sponsored attack.

The best question now – how does the federal government respond?

A question produced more pressing by accusations that will ministers were guilty of appeasement within the wake of Alexander Litvinenko’s eliminating.

Mr Johnson recommended there could be targeted sanctions against these close to President Putin.

And, perhaps most significantly, within an indication the government could seek in order to rally international support to make a endure against Russia, Mr Johnson stated there could be a co-ordinated response along with Nato allies.

No matter what measures are eventually decided on – if Russian involvement can be proven – it’s clear relationships between London and Moscow have got plunged to new depths.

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