Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

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Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby toucana on March 5th, 2018, 5:44 pm 

front-sergei-skripal.jpg
Sergei Skripal

A former Russian colonel who spied for the UK is in a critical condition in hospital after being exposed to an unknown substance in Salisbury.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/wiltshire-critically-ill-unknown-substance-salisbury-former-russian-spy-a8241121.html

Sergei Skripal, who was given refuge in the UK after being jailed in his home country for treason, was found unconscious on a bench alongside a woman in a local shopping centre.

A major incident was declared at Salisbury District Hospital after the patients arrived, with people told not to attend A&E unless it is “extremely urgent”.

A colonel in Russian military intelligence until at least 1999, Mr Skripal was arrested in 2004 on suspicion of spying for the British. 

Eventually, he admitted to high treason for working for MI6 and providing the identities of active agents in Europe in exchange for payments totalling more than $100,000.

In 2006, Mr Skripal was convicted in a military court, and sentenced to 13 years. He was released early, in 2010, following a high-profile “spy swap,” with Russian sleeper agents uncovered in the United States. 

The cause of their illness has not yet been confirmed but the case drew immediate comparison to the assassination of former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko using tea laced with radioactive polonium.

A public inquiry named Russians Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun as the prime suspects for poisoning Mr Litvinenko at a Mayfair hotel in 2006 but attempts to extradite them from Russia failed.

Another Russian expat and whistleblower called Alexander Perepilichnyy collapsed and died in November 2012 in Weybridge Surrey, shortly before he was due to give evidence in Switzerland. Toxicology tests showed he had been poisoned with gelsemium elegans, a known tool of Russian and Chinese contract killers

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/may/19/poisoned-russian-whistleblower-was-fatalistic-over-death-threats
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on March 5th, 2018, 11:11 pm 

The Russians have a long history of famously poisoning people with rare and exotic poisons. It's a little thing they have. From what I've heard of the symptoms, it sounds like it could be BZ or a BZ type derivative. Just a hunch.
As yet the substance seems to be still unidentified, and it could be something bespoke. Only time will tell.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on March 6th, 2018, 10:58 am 

According to reports in the news, a number of police and first responders have had to be admitted to hospital exhibiting symptoms such as difficultly breathing. This would indicate that only minute amounts of the toxin are effective, and that it is persistent in the environment to a degree. Suggestions?
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby toucana on March 6th, 2018, 12:25 pm 

A synthetic organo-phosphorus nerve agent such as VX which was used to kill Kim Jong-nam in Kuala Lumpur airport just over a year ago might have been used. In that case the substance was applied in the form of a viscous oil on a cloth wiped over the victim's face by a young woman wearing rubber gloves.

Another possibility is Sarin, yet another organo-phosphorous nerve agent which I believe is a rather more volatile clear and odourless liquid. Some of the transfer effects described in first responders sound more like those of Sarin, possibly sprayed on the victims as an aerosol.

Tabun is yet another synthetic nerve agent of this class. It's clear liquid which is about half as toxic as Sarin, but produces most of the same effects. A particularly nasty aspect of Tabun is that while it can be neutralised with hypochlorite bleach, doing so releases the poisonous gas cyanogen chloride.

The symptoms of these attacks can be treated by the injection of nerve agent antidotes such as atropine, but it needs to be done pretty fast. The fact that the police and medical response teams were talking about decontaminating victims at the hospital leaves little doubt what sort of incident this was.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Braininvat on March 6th, 2018, 1:57 pm 

I guess umbrellas tipped with a ricin pellet injector never quite caught on. That was so Bond villain-ish.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on March 6th, 2018, 3:30 pm 

All of the above seems to point towards an organophosphate. The attacker appears to have harmed the victims in an open space, so it seems to me that the toxin may have been administered outside, which is more problematic than doing it in, say, a restaurant where the toxin is not going to get blown around in the wind possibly endangering the attacker too. I would have expected Sarin and VX to have killed these folks already, given that there was still enough to affect the first responders.
To me, this is a curious attack. Once the agent has been isolated and identified, we can start analyzing the attack method and possibly the origin of the toxin. My hunch would be Russia as they have a long history of doing this, and bizarre delivery methods seem to amuse the Ruskies. I don't really know who else would be able to carry this attack off successfully with revenge as motivation.
It's gonna be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few weeks or so.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on March 6th, 2018, 3:53 pm 

One other thing. The victim is known to have been rather fatalistic about getting bumped off by Russia in England. I think he knew that this kind of thing was entirely possible, and he believed if anyone would try this it would be fatal and would be Russia. I may be way off base, but I am thinking back to the Polonium poisoning. They wanted to cause a slow, painful death and succeeded. They also left polonium all over London, regard for the London public seems not to have been a consideration.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby toucana on March 8th, 2018, 10:12 am 

Amber Rudd, the UK home secretary, speaking in parliament has confirmed that the attack in Salisbury on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia involved the use of a highly toxic and sophisticated nerve agent poison.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43326734

She described it as a brazen and reckless attack, and an outrageous crime. She said that the two victims who remain critically ill in a coma had been deliberately targeted in the opinion of the police, and that another police officer who was the first responder was also seriously ill in hospital as well.

The home secretary indicated that the nerve agent involved had been identified by UK experts at the Porton Down chemical warfare centre, but she declined to give any further information, beyond saying that it was rare and unusual.

Other sources have indicated that neither VX nor Sarin were used. From studying publicly available data sheets, one could make an educated guess that a G class organophosphate poison like Tabun was the most likely candidate.

Three factors in particular point towards the use of Tabun:
i. A number of first responders complained of suffering facial irritation and runny eyes
ii. First responders suffered chemical transfer effects from the victims' clothing up to 30m after the attack.
iii. The victims are still alive.

Tabun has only half the toxicity of Sarin. If VX or Sarin had been used then the victims and several of the first responders would probably have died before they could be taken to hospital and treated.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on March 10th, 2018, 1:14 pm 

Just an update.

As things stand, the two main victims are still in a coma in hospital. The policeman that was the first responder is also very unwell in hospital too.

Police are trying to figure out what to do with the contaminated ambulance. Personally, I would shove it into a container, fill it with concrete and bury it somewhere. I'd be surprised if it was worth trying to salvage.

The government have not been very forthcoming as to what agent was used, but what we do know is that it was a highly sophisticated toxin. Only governments possess the capacity to make these chemicals, so it reinforces that a state actor was heavily involved in its manufacture, containment and deployment.

Pretty much everybody is agreed this was a nerve toxin, but it wasn't sarin or vx. Other suggestions are posted above. It's also worth that we sometimes refer to VX, but it ought to be known as the VX series, I think there are about 5 variants if I recall. VX is also the most poisonous poison ever created by man, created here in England in the mid 1950's at Porton down. The usual treatment is Atropine that used to come in an auto-injector pen with a big Temazepam tablet in the lid to ease the convulsions. It may have changed since then though.

If I come across anything new, I'll let you folks know as soon as I can get it confirmed.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on March 10th, 2018, 3:12 pm 

Apparently, from reports I've read are saying the nerve toxin is so rare according to experts that only a very few countries are capable of producing it. Russia has one such facility outside Moscow.

Making it is only one part of the problem though. Testing, containment, delivery systems also play a part. Somebody somewhere has gone to extreme lengths to execute the spy and his girl. Russia? Probably. There is nothing on the Home Office website of any use. I thought it might be publishing details.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby toucana on March 10th, 2018, 6:07 pm 

A statement by a government defence minister this afternoon indicated that Britain intends to raise the subject of the attack on Sergei Skripal with our NATO allies.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/russia-spy-latest-sergei-skripal-salisbury-poisoning-nerve-agent-nato-cobra-meeting-amber-rudd-a8249771.html

The remarks by Tobias Ellwood were made this afternoon during a COBRA meeting in Whitehall chaired by home secretary Amber Rudd who disclosed that 250 counterintelligence officers were now working on the case.

A decision to formally raise the matter within NATO is of some considerable significance. Under Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, member nations subscribe to a collective defence pact. An attack on one member is deemed to be an attack on all.

https://www.nato.int/cps/cn/natohq/topics_110496.htm

Although the British government is being fairly discreet at present, it is clear from other comments that some senior figures regard an assassination attempt with a nerve-gas agent by a foreign power on our soil as tantamount to an act of war.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on March 10th, 2018, 7:15 pm 

It appears from news reports that the Russian/British agent and his daughter were in fact poisoned in a local pizza restaurant. I was saying in a previous post that things seemed unusual for an attack of this type. Releasing the agent in the open air would be extremely hazardous to the attacker due to the wind moving it around. The polonium poisoning was also administered in a restaurant. They are an ideal location for a number of fairly self-evident reasons.

Approx 250 intelligence personnel are working the case and about 250 witnesses have been found so far.

As Toucana also points out that GB is a NATO country, and this kind of hostile action is an act of war under article 5 that Toucana again gives more detail on.

I wouldn't expect any military involvement, but I certainly think there will be a big diplomacy issue over this.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on March 11th, 2018, 8:20 pm 

Quick update: Local residents have been instructed to wash all clothing worn since the poisoning event in Salisbury in case it has picked up toxin residue. Some toxins in this class are transferable with a cumulative effect. We public still don't know the exact toxin as yet, and it would be a wise precaution.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Watson on March 11th, 2018, 10:38 pm 

Yes we got that bit of laundry news in Canada, so that goes to the point about how toxic it was, and how 'plugged in' the culprits must be to have access to such material.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby toucana on March 12th, 2018, 4:13 am 

One aspect of this story that may be lost on readers outside of the UK is the significance of the location of this attack.

Salisbury is probably best known abroad from tourist brochures as a sleepy cathedral city in the county of Wiltshire. What is less well known is that Salisbury is very much a major home of the British army. Many of the British army's logistical and training facilities have been located in and around Salisbury since the days of WW2.

Large parts of Salisbury Plain are sealed areas that are used for training and live firing ranges. To this very day the ghost villages of Imber and Copehill Down remain forbidden zones, They were requisitioned by the MOD for training troops in street fighting in 1943, and were never returned to civilian use.

Not far north from Salisbury is the village of Porton which is home to Porton Down, the centre of Britain's top secret biological and chemical warfare research station.

A decision by a foreign power to stage a nerve agent attack on members of the population of a major military cantonment like Salisbury, and right on the doorstep of Porton Down is a deliberate and calculated provocation.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on March 12th, 2018, 1:21 pm 

New from the Prime Minister. > Nerve agent used was a Russian one. Novichok.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novichok_agent

Was scathing of Russia's undoubted involvement.

Investigating a few more locations as well.

There has been little change in the victims status, though the less poisoned officer was able to talk with his family apparently.

Theresa may live at the commons now.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on March 13th, 2018, 1:17 pm 

Another russian with close links to Putin has also been found dead in England. There is no detail of how he died, but it's not been in any broadcast media. There may not be a link to the Sailsbury incident, I haven't found one yet. It does seem somewhat coincidental though.

Link: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing- ... berezovsky
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby toucana on March 13th, 2018, 1:39 pm 

The man's name is Nikolai Gluschov. He was a close friend of another anti-Putin exile Boris Berezovsky who was found dead in suspicious circumstances in 2013. Nikolai Gluschov said at the time that he flatly refused to believe that his friend had hanged himself.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/russian-spy-nikolai-glushkov-dead-uk-boris-berezovsky-death-russia-putin-a8254001.html

The latest casualty Gluschov was at one time a senior director of the Russian flagship airline Aeroflot. He was driven out of Russia after being convicted of 'fraud' and jailed for several years.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, Mr. Gluschov was found dead at his London home around 22:46 last night by his daughter. Counter-terrorism officers have now taken over the investigation into his death after reports that the deceased victim was found with strangulation marks around his neck.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5495805/Russian-exile-dead-London-home.html
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on March 13th, 2018, 11:46 pm 

The Prime Minister gave the Russians 24 hours to explain how one of their military grade nerve toxins found its way into the victims in England. The Russians have firstly denied they ever produced the toxin, and even if they had, they have since been destroyed anyway. There is no credence to these claims as far as I am concerned.

Further, the Kremlin said words to the effect of "Who are you to demand we cooperate in this farce, and that were not in a position to threaten a nuclear state?" It may have escaped their notice that we are also a nuclear state, and further, any attack on Britain would trigger a response in kind by NATO.

I have a feeling that diplomats and civil servants are going to be logging a lot of overtime.

And now we have another dead Russian, apparently murdered on British soil.

This all amounts to a potentially very volatile political mess. This story is far from over I think.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on March 16th, 2018, 9:01 pm 

Russia has now said it will expel British diplomats, but to my mind, Russia has an indefensible position. There is no doubt of high-level involvement by the Kremlin. But this case is just one of many.

There was the MI6 officer found zipped in a suitcase in a vacant flat;
There was Mr. Porchenko and the Polonium,
There were the Novochok poisonings,
Then The Aeroflot ex-boss turned up strangled
And there was his friend who was found hanging.
At a push you might even include the Ricin-umberella attack in London in the 1950's

Not only that, around a dozen internal murders have taken place over the last two years or so of Putins' political enemies.

As a UK national I ask, in all seriousness not who did it, we know that, but how in the world have we allowed this to go on so long. There may be even more cases that the government never disclosed as well.

I'm struggling to grasp how this is not an act(s) of war. Using weapons deemed to extreme even for war on British soil is surely an act of war, unless the government has changed the criteria without informing anyone.

Thankfully the US and EU are backing Britain to various degrees, and if the worst should happen, we can invoke article 5 of the NATO mandate which declares an attack on one is an attack on all.

People are talking of a new cold war, but Glasnost aside it seems to have been carrying on apace anyway.

I should also mention Russias' nuclear sabre-rattling, and would remind them we have four Trident Missile subs , and although the nukes are technically American, we don't need any authority from anyone to launch them.

I would not be surprised if at least one sub is now lurking around in the Bering sea somewhere with its 16 multi-warhead Trident missiles in a state of full readiness.

There are many directions things could go in right now, and as much as I'd like to, i think it would be unwise to make any predictions. Things are too fluid. I expect things to crystallize in the coming months.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on March 24th, 2018, 6:19 pm 

Today, the police officer affected by the Novochok has been discharged from hospital. I don't think many people affected by this class of nerve agent can boast that they survived a dose.
As far as the Russian spy and his daughter are both still in an a critical condition, both remain in an induced coma it appears.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Braininvat on March 26th, 2018, 10:20 am 

US just kicked out 60 more Russian consular staff, in response to the nerve agent attack. Trump must be conflicted, wondering if Vlad's kisses will be less tender at their next romantic getaway.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on March 29th, 2018, 11:46 am 

Ex-Russian spy's daughter 'improving rapidly'
Yulia Skripal, daughter of ex-Russian spy, "improving rapidly" and no longer in critical condition, four weeks after Salisbury poisoning.

Breaking news on the BBC.

https://t.co/Coea6uASVP
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on March 29th, 2018, 9:46 pm 

Mr Skripal's daughter is now said to be conscious, speaking and much improved.

Thinking the unthinkable: I have been wondering if perhaps Mr Skripal accidentally poisoned himself and his daughter. It's possible the poison may have come into his posession when he was a professional spy. Unproven, unlikely, but possible. To me, it makes a certain amount of sense.
I was accidentally poisoned with Potassium Cyanide solution I was handling without gloves once. It was just accidental, but accidents do happen. This wasn't even in a lab. I was doing silver and gold-smithing where it's used for re-plating silver and gold.

Just thinking out loud.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby BadgerJelly on March 30th, 2018, 2:29 am 

There are two options.

Russia was involved in this or they were not.

I personally cannot see what the gains are for either a made up story or a purposeful assassination. Of course we can talk about revenge on the part of the Russian secret services, or an old grudge maybe, on the other side it could be seen as a plant in order to spark international tensions and dent Russia's political reach.

We can say there seems to have been a pattern of suspicion fro Russia with poisoning and assassination. Maybe Putin was testing the water to see what the reaction would be? Maybe rogue agents?

Maybe options and reasons, but little is concrete other than the apparent source of the toxin used - which is indicative, but not damning (And I think we can assume the government has motives and reasons to lay out this accusation so quickly.)
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on March 30th, 2018, 7:10 am 

The thing with Novochok is that there are a family of derivatives of which N5 and N7 are reputedly the worst. It was to my knowledge a soviet project. The purpose of Novochok was to defeat NATO NBC gear and protocols. It is a powder that is persistent in the environment fulfilling an area denial weapon requirement.
People were saying it was as powerful as the VX series or worse, but the evidence points to it being substantially less powerful.
In warfare, it profits a side more if it can incapacitate the enemy forces rather than kill them. This is because it ties up so many more enemy resources than just digging a grave. This is the unpleasantness of war. BZ is an incapacitating agent for that very purpose. It's all about obliterating the enemy force's capacity to fight.

The reaction towards Russia is pretty comprehensive, which makes me think our intel must be pretty safe.
Whatever way you cut it though, the Ruskies deployed and used a banned weapon on a sovereign state. How they did it and why is as yet undisclosed. I think it may remain that way for some time to come..

I think Russia wants to be feared like it used to be. It hates NATO, and in truth cannot win against NATO, so it needs to break NATO up. I think we may see more destabilization attempts by Russia with this in mind.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on April 4th, 2018, 2:29 pm 

Update:

According to reports, the UK's government lab at Porton Down have been unable to detect any unique identifiers linking the Novochok to the Russian Federation. President Putin is maintaining that it is innocent of this. He called for the world chemical weapons experts to convene in the Hague.
He also called for a joint investigation into the matter, but only won 6 out of (I think) 20 votes and the petition was dismissed.
Storing Novochok is problematic, and like other chemicals in this class degrade fairly quickly. It is unlikely to come from cold war stocks, which are supposed to have been destroyed.
Also mentioned was that it has to have been a state run lab that made the chemical, well resourced and highly capable..
I suspect this incident will rumble on for some considerable time yet, many questions still remain.

Mr. Skripal remains seriously ill in hospital at this time. Normally, I am told, people suffering from organophosphate nerve poisons that survive often go on to make a good if not complete recovery. If his daughter is evidence that the Novochok adheres to this norm there may yet be hope of recovery for Mr. Skripal.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby curiosity on April 4th, 2018, 2:44 pm 

Hmm,
All this certainty about who committed this crime, based on statements from a couple of incompetent politicians stating... "Its highly likely that Russia did it !" Would that likelihood be as accurate as the one stating that Iraq possessed Weapons of mass destruction? Am I convinced that Russia did it, based on such overwhelming evidence ? In one word... No!!!
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby Event Horizon on April 4th, 2018, 3:37 pm 

curiosity » April 4th, 2018, 7:44 pm wrote:Hmm,
All this certainty about who committed this crime, based on statements from a couple of incompetent politicians stating... "Its highly likely that Russia did it !" Would that likelihood be as accurate as the one stating that Iraq possessed Weapons of mass destruction? Am I convinced that Russia did it, based on such overwhelming evidence ? In one word... No!!!


There is some chance this could be a false-flag operation, I think it's right to be skeptical. The British government seem to be basing everything on supposition. But we already know that this is a Russian developed military grade nerve poison. We have the VX series nerve poisons which are arguably far more potent and are generally deployed as an aerosol. No standard commercial labs would be stupid enough to try producing these chemicals. Just 1 microgram getting loose could cause fatalities. It's very serious stuff.

Russia also has done similar things in the past, but I don't recall any kind of backlash like this. Technically, whoever commissioned this instance has committed an act of war, so we need to get this right. There's still a heck of a lot we don't know, and I don't think its very wise for politicians to go around making assertions and presenting them like facts. It probably is Russia, but we can't prove any of that right now.
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Re: Former Russian Spy Poisoned in UK

Postby curiosity on April 11th, 2018, 7:15 am 

"Cold war brinkmanship at its finest!" I must admit to not understanding what was happening at first. The fact that the victims of the attack are still still alive proves that novichok wasn't used. The Russians have shown that they have the ability to carry out such an attack on British soil if they so desire, but they were not stupid enough to actually use novichok, as that would constitute an act of war.
The UK stated that they believe the attack was carried out by Russia, in order to show Russia what the international response to such an attack would be. The response was... Britain has been shown to have powerful allies, so attacking Britain would not be a good idea.

The Russian saga continues..."Seeing the US response to the latest situation in Syria will be very interesting !!!"

I jotted down this post without realizing that Event Horizon had already made a fairly comprehensive summation of the subject. I think both he/she and I, have arrived at the correct conclusion. I hope the US can also sort out the Syrian problem without any dire circumstances for the parties concerned.
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