When Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, collapsed suddenly on Sunday in the sleepy cathedral city of Salisbury, there were unavoidable echoes of a messy, high-profile death in London a little over a decade before.
In 2006, Alexander Litvinenko, another former Russian agent, was rushed to hospital after collapsing in London. As the world watched, a rare and highly radioactive isotope destroyed Litvinenko’s organs one by one, and he died three weeks later.
A British public inquiry found that the former Russian agent had ingested Polonium 210, and that his assassination was likely ordered directly by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Mr Skripal, 66, who was imprisoned in Russia for working for British intelligence and later came to the UK as part of a spy swap, is currently in critical condition, along with his 33-year-old daughter who was also taken ill. Authorities say they are trying to determine if he was poisoned.
Russia has denied any involvement, but the case has put renewed scrutiny on a string of deaths in the UK in the past two decades. The chair of the home affairs select committee, Yvette Cooper MP, wrote to Home Secretary Amber Rudd on Tuesday calling for a review of 14 other cases.
Those cases were variously found to have been heart attacks, suicides, accidents, and deaths by natural causes, but some allege that they amount to a pattern of state-sponsored murder on British streets. [Continue reading…]
The @Telegraph story claiming a link between Sergei #Skripal and Christopher Steele's company Orbis is wrong, I understand. Skripal had nothing to do with Trump dossier. Nor did unnamed "security consultant" ever work for Orbis https://t.co/QpQzIBajxV
— Luke Harding (@lukeharding1968) March 8, 2018
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