Russian Double-Agent Near Death in Britain, Kremlin Suspected of Ordering Hit
A Russian double-agent spy and his adult daughter are found catatonic in Salisbury, England. Some of the police and medical crews who responded to the discovery of the victims are also taken ill and wind up hospitalized in serious condition.
This isn’t the opening of a spy novel written by someone like John Le Carre or Brad Meltzer. Instead, it is a shocking true crime story.
The Russian, Sergei V. Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia Skripal, at the time of this writing were listed in critical condition.
“This is being treated as a major incident involving attempted murder by administration of a nerve agent,” Mark Rowley, Britain’s chief police official for counterterrorism and international security, told the New York Times.
While investigators are willing to say Skripal and his daughter were the targets of an assassination attempt and were poisoned by a nerve agent of some kind; they are not talking publicly about which drug might have been used or how it could have been administered.
“Certainly, a nerve agent is not something an ordinary person can get their hands on,” said Vladimir Ashurkov, a Russian dissident living in Britain
Speculation is running rampant that this was another hit orchestrated by Russia President Vladimir V. Putin, who Western officials have said before kills those who disagree with him.
If this is true, it would not be the first time Putin has ordered the execution of a Russian spy who was a turncoat.
Alexander Litvinenko was another Russian spy who got too friendly with the West. He was killed in 2006 with a rare radioactive metal. He also died in Britain. Investigators concluded he was assassinated by Russian operatives.
What could Skripal have done to warrant a death sentence at the hands of Putin’s hit squads? In 2006, a Russian court convicted him of selling secrets to the British. He was released four years later in an exchange of captured spies.
Of course, the Kremlin has denied any responsibility. The investigation continues.
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