Russia Researched Use of Poisoned Door Handles, UK Says

Russian spy poisoning: 'No-one speaks for me' - Yulia Skripal

Russian intelligence has been spying on the Skripals for at least five years, national security adviser Mark Sedwill has said.

Russia's ambassador to Britain said a claim by a British security advisor on Friday that Russian Federation spied on former agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter for at least five years before they were attacked with a nerve agent was a "big surprise".

"This programme subsequently included investigation of ways of delivering nerve agents, including by application to door handles", the letter says.

In his letter, Sir Mark set out why the Government believes that only Russian Federation has the "technical means, operational experience and the motive" to carry out such an attack - including some declassified intelligence material.

Britain says that Yulia Skripal's email was under attacked from the GRU in 2013.

They were found slumped on a bench in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.

He argues that "Russia has a proven record of conducting state-sponsored assassination", referencing the murder of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

The letter was made public a day after investigators at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed British findings that the Skripals were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent.

Mr Sedwill's letter provided some detail of the intelligence Prime Minister Theresa May referred to in the House of Commons when she claimed Russian Federation was "highly likely" to have been behind the poisoning.

Russian spy poisoning: 'No-one speaks for me' - Yulia Skripal

Russia's ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko described the claims as a "big surprise" and complained they had not been formally notified of the allegations by the UK authorities. Samples taken from the home found a high concentration of the nerve agent - believed to be Soviet-produced novichock - on the door handles.

Making the decision over the Russian diplomat Georgia joined North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and tens of foreign states, which have expelled Russian diplomats and stood by the United Kingdom, as the latter says Russia has deployed a chemical weapon on its territory.

"There is no plausible alternative explanation", he added.

He added: "During the 2000s, Russian Federation commenced a programme to test means of delivering chemical warfare agents and to train personnel from special units in the use of these weapons".

He also questioned the authenticity of a statement issued by Ms Skripal through the Metropolitan Police saying she did not want to meet Russian officials.

Yakovenko said he had not seen the letter.

Yulia Skripal, 33, has been released from the hospital.

"We can not be sure that Yulia's refusal to see us is genuine".




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