Britain says Russian Federation spied on Skripals for years

Britain Has Set Out Its Most Detailed Explanation Yet For Why It Believes Russia Is Responsible For The Salisbury Poisoning

Britain Has Set Out Its Most Detailed Explanation Yet For Why It Believes Russia Is Responsible For The Salisbury Poisoning

It was "highly likely", he said, that some defectors - like Mr Skripal, a former GRU officer who was convicted of treason in 2006 and exchanged in a spy swap in 2010 - were regarded as "legitimate targets".

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow would not believe any conclusions about the poisoning unless Russian experts were given access to the investigation.

Russian intelligence agencies have been spying on former GRU colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia for at least five years, British press agency Press Association reported on Twitter Friday, citing National Security Adviser Sir Mark Sedwill's letter to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that a new report on the poisoning of a former spy does nothing to support Britain's contention that Russian Federation was behind the attack.

He confirmed Russia's receipt on Thursday of a classified report from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which the organization sent after confirming Britain's identification of a toxic agent used in the poisoning.

The watchdog's report does not say who was responsible for the attack, since that was outside the scope of its mission.

In the letter, Sedwill said Novichok was found in environmental samples taken at the scene and in biomedical samples from both Skripals and DS Bailey, and that the "highest concentrations were found on the handle of Mr Skripal's front door".

The OPCW laboratories tests' - the details of which were kept confidential - findings about the chemical's purity supports the British Government's assertion that a state was involved.

"It is unlikely that Novichok could be made and deployed by non-state actors", he adds. Britain has blamed Russian Federation for the attack - a charge that Moscow has strongly denied. The same facility was named in a report by British newspaper The Times last week as the location where the nerve agent used on the Skripals was manufactured, with the paper citing British security sources.

On Wednesday she said she did not now wish to take up an offer of consular assistance from the Russian embassy, according to a note released by London's Metropolitan Police.

Russian Federation has charged that British officials are keeping Skripal's daughter in isolation.

"Only Russia has the technical means, operational experience and the motive", he writes.

"In the interest of transparency, and because unlike the Russians we have nothing to hide, we have asked the OPCW to publish the executive summary for all to see", Mr Johnson said in a statement.

He said Russian Federation had a "proven record of conducting state-sponsored assassination" and that it was "highly likely" some defectors - like Mr Skripal, a former GRU officer who was exchanged in a spy swap in 2010 - may be regarded as "legitimate targets".

Sedwill goes on to claim that Russian Federation was likely the only former Soviet republic to pursue "an offensive chemical weapons programme after independence".

He said Russian Federation had a "proven record of conducting state-sponsored assassination", including the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

"It's very hard to make a highly toxic chemical to this high level of purity without a lot of effort", he said.

A German Foreign Ministry spokesman said: it was "now up to Russian Federation to finally play a constructive role and answer the open questions".

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