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Sergei V. Skripal poisoned by nerve agent on door handle – sophisticated attack, but no proof of the perprtrator

Poisoned Door Handle Hints at High-Level Plot to Kill Spy, U.K. Officials Say, NYT, By ELLEN BARRY and DAVID E. SANGERAPRIL 1, 2018 LONDON — British officials investigating the poisoning of Sergei V. Skripal, a former Russian double agent, believe it is likely that an assassin smeared a nerve agent on the door handle at his home. This operation is seen as so risky and sensitive that it is unlikely to have been undertaken without approval from the Kremlin, according to officials who have been briefed on the early findings of the inquiry……..

Because the nerve agent is so potent, the officials said, the task could have been carried out only by trained professionals familiar with chemical weapons. British and American officials are skeptical that independent actors could have carried out such a risky operation or obtained the agent without approval at the highest levels of the Russian government  .
…… Four weeks after the assassination attempt, British and American officials are turning to the question of whether President Vladimir V. Putin himself was aware of, or ordered, the attack.

They say there is no evidence so far of his direct participation, but the Russian president, a former K.G.B. officer, is skilled at hiding his communications.

Russia has denied involvement in the poisoning, and in the election hack.

……. Some experts have expressed caution about assuming that

Mr. Putin approved the attack. Its timing was awkward, coming too late to help him much in last month’s election, and casting a diplomatic shadow over Russia’s hosting of the 2018 World Cup.

And the Kremlin’s embrace of proxy forces in recent years has opened the door to freelancing from other power centers, like security agencies or the country’s military intelligence, which may not share their plans in detail.

………Russia on Saturday also released a list of questions addressed to Britain, France and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which will hold a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the Skripal poisoning.

The questions scrutinize the British claim that the nerve agent originated in Russia, noting that an antidote was provided to the Skripals within hours of their poisoning, and questioning whether British scientists had produced Novichok nerve agents in their own laboratories. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/01/world/europe/russia-sergei-skripal-uk-spy-poisoning.html

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April 4, 2018 - Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK

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