The Salisbury case seems to be rapidly developing with more and more details and claims appear over the ‘Novichok’ poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia Skripal.
On September 5, British authorities presented images of two Russian citizens, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, allegedly involved in “the attempted murder of Mr Skripal and his daughter”. The British side described these persons photographed and filmed in various places across the UK as highly trained agents of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU).
According to the British version, these very persons carried out an attempt to murder Sergei Skripal, a former GRU officer and double agent for the UK’s intelligence services, and his daughter, by spraying the Novichok on Skripal’s front door and handle.
On September 6, The Daily Mirror reported citing sources in Police and MI5 that the Novichok nerve agent was smuggled into Britain’s Russian embassy in a diplomatic bag.
“And assassins Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Bohirov were probably handed it by a staff member at a prearranged drop off point near their East London hotel or a swift hand to hand exchange before they set off on their mission,” the article added meaning that somebody from the embasssy staff was also involved.
On September 8, The Daily Mirror claimed citing intelligence sources that Petrov and Boshrov were a part of the crew of six – the assassination squad known as The Cleaners. On September 9, The Daily Express reported also citing intelligence sources that Petrov and Boshrov were identified that thanks to a recently-turned Russian spy.
“Although he had a position in Russia’s embassy there, his real job was to glean classified information about Nato.
Sources say he had been groomed for months by an MI6 agent posing as an art dealer, after expressing a desire to defect over his belief that Russian president Vladimir Putin is determined to foster conflict with the West,” The Daily Express article reads.
“He provided Secret Intelligence Service officers with a “wide spectrum of routine and sensitive information” about Moscow’s worldwide spy network.
He was also shown CCTV images of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, the aliases of the GRU agents sought by New Scotland Yard over the Novichock poisonings. Apollo also provided their real names and true identities.”
On September 12, President Vladimir Putin said that Russian authorities have identified the two men accused by the UK of carrying out the nerve agent attack. He described them as civilians adding that “there is nothing criminal about them.” On September 13, the Russian state-run television network RT released an interview with them. (RT IS STILL RELEASING PARTS OF INTERVIEW HERE)
One of the main British arguments “proving” the Russian involvement in the Skripal poisoning was that Moscow is allgedly hiding Petrov and Boshirov from the media. Now, this point is no more an argument.
However, let’s ignore inconsistencies and absurdity of the British claims and look at them in the context of the work of special services:
Let’s suppose that the Russian top leadership ordered the GRU (one of the biggest special services around the world alongside with the CIA and Mossad) to liquidate Sergey Skripal in British territory. In this case, an authority department of the GRU had to develop a special operation and to prepare means and facilities to carry out it.
It is obvious that the liquidation of a former GRU officer in the UK will cause a new wave of media hysteria in the current geopolitical situation. So, this operation has to be carried out carefully and providently.
In general, any special service establishes a few separate groups with own tasks to carry out such operations:
- A surveillance team tracks the target, schedules his life in time and space and maps his behavior and habits. This work is being made for a significant period and its results are then passed to an analyst. Then, the obtained data is transferred to another group.
- The second group tracks the target during the next phase of the operation – the liquidation. Specialists from the first and second group never meet each other.
- A perpetrator carries out the action. In this very case, he had to spray the Novichok on Skripal’s front door and handle. In such operations, the perpetrator always appears unexpectedly for a short period (one day or a few hours).
- Another group, a covering party, protects the perpetrator and is responsible for his secure withdrawal and evacuation.
Comparing to what the British side says about the Salisbury case, it seems that one of the biggest special services around the world acted like a second-rate business man asking gangsters to assassinate his business rival. British authorities released photos of two persons, who move together under cameras across the UK, carry out the murder attempt and openly leave the country. Furthermore, they use a complicated weapon – the Novichok nerve agent, which was allegedly smuggled to the US via diplomatic channels.
In other words, the British side says that personnel of the Russian special services are idiots. The propagandists developing their story have fell to illusions created by them own. In this reality, snowy Moscow is full of bears, drunk Russian soldiers flood Syria and eastern Ukraine and Russian special agents in ushankas are behind any portentous events in the “civilized world”.
There is one unlikely variant, which may rescue the British version of the events: a corruption in Russian special services. If we suppose that a major part of the operation budget was stolen, we can also suppose that some gangsters were hired to carry out the liquidation. However, it is hard to believe that this may have happened. Modern Russia is not that Russia, which one could observe in 1990s.
A full version of the interview with Petrov and Boshirov in Russian (ENGLISH TRANSCRIPT):