Here's what the two murder suspects in Alexander Litvinenko's death have to say about Sergey Skripal turning up poisoned in England
On Monday afternoon, former Russian military officer Sergey Skripal was discovered unconscious with his daughter on a bench at a shopping center in Salisbury, England, after they were exposed to an unknown substance. Police are still investigating the incident and trying to determine what harm has come to the two individuals, but several first responders were assessed for poisoning afterwards and one remains in the hospital. Moscow says it’s prepared to help in the investigation, denying any role in this “tragic situation,” but journalists are already drawing parallels to the death of Alexander Litvinenko, who succumbed to radiation poisoning in 2006, after moving to London and writing two books about corruption in Russia’s federal law enforcement. The two primary suspects in the Litvinenko murder have already commented on Skripal’s case.
In November 2006, former Russian Federal Security Service Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Litvinenko died in a London hospital. He had received political asylum in Britain, where he became an outspoken critic of the Russian authorities. Ten years later, a public investigation concluded that Russia’s top leadership had sanctioned the killing, which investigators say was carried out by Litvinenko’s acquaintances, former Federal Protective Service officer Andrey Lugovoi (now a State Duma deputy) and businessman Dmitry Kovtun. Russia has refused to extradite either man, and both say they’re innocent of the charges.
The English suffer from various phobias. If something happens with Russians, they immediately start looking for the connections to Moscow. For now, there haven’t been any official statements about Skripal, but you can’t rule out that the media will try to inflate another scandal around all this, with more accusations against Russian intelligence.
Between intelligence agencies, certain unwritten rules exist and are fundamentally observed. Skripal was convicted of treason, but in 2010 he was pardoned by the Russian president and handed over to Britain for our supposedly exposed agents. That means there were corresponding agreements between our intelligence agencies. Going after someone who’s already been pardoned is absurd.
If someone really poisoned Skripal — if it wasn’t an accident — then of course it’s a provocation by British intelligence, designed foremost to discredit the Russian authorities ahead of the presidential election. As far as we know from the news media, Skripal is currently in intensive care. They could find anything in his blood. If he dies, then they’ll start tracing back the trail to those “bloody Russians,” and if he lives thanks to British doctors, they’ll still go looking for Russians’ involvement in the murder attempt.