By Ben Kerrigan-Russian intelligence agencies assassination testing of door handles is the strongest proof of guilt so far in the Skripal and Syrian drama of the last week. Recent announcement that poison victim Yulia Skripal's email account was targeted as early as 2013 has heightened the evidence being gathered against Russia's guilt. The UK's national security adviser announced that in a letter to Nato, Sir Mark Sedwin said Russia trained "special units" to use nerve agents, including applying them to door handles.
Police say a nerve agent was found on Yulia’s father Sergei Skripal’s front door in Salisbury. The Russian government has denied any involvement in the March attack, but scientists are unified in the conclusion that the nerve agent came from Russia. This puts responsibility on Russia to explain the finding if they are to exculpate themselves from the blame they face.
Ms Skripal, 33, and her 66-year-old father were found slumped on a park bench in the city on 4 March. They were exposed to a nerve agent belonging to the Novichok group. This analysis has been backed by the international chemical weapons watchdog. Mr Skripal remains at Salisbury District Hospital, while his daughter was discharged on Monday.
“We have information indicating Russian intelligence service interest in the Skripals dating back at least as far as 2013,” he said.
“Email accounts belonging to Yulia Skripal were targeted by GRU cyber specialists,” he said, referring to Russia’s foreign military intelligence agency.
The letter directly points the finger at Russia for testing assassination methods with chemical weapons, including using nerve agents smeared on to door handles. The news intensifies the climate of friction between the Uk and Russia, but the Russians surely know they are wrong, but they feel they have to fight back. Russia should be honest and accept they have been caught, and there best explanation is to pretend not to have any knowledge or connection with the perpetrators.
This is unlikely to be true, but it is possible,since anything is. More open and honest responses from the Russians is required, but a thorough investigation on this will be ongoing, to leave no stones unturned. Despite Russia’s strong criticism against the airstrikes of Friday night and their allegation the chemical attack was staged, the evidence shows that their professed political alliance with Syria makes their position very biased and not worthy of much consideration. The whole charade has become a bit of a political theater for Putin’s government, who cannot possibly admit to supporting chemical attacks in this day and age.