Russia is running an interference operation against the westby Jonathan Evans / July 14, 2018 / Leave a comment
The Russian “special services” probably believe that the re-emergence of the Novichok affair in July is an attempt by the British to undermine the good publicity their country has received as a result of hosting the World Cup. The Russians are not unique in their ability to commit truly awful deeds and then feel unfairly victimised when they are found out.
The death of Dawn Sturgess adds a -further element of human tragedy to the use of a nerve agent in the west country, but it does not fundamentally alter the political and security position. The extraordinarily united international response to the initial attack on Sergei and Julia -Skripal has been vindicated now that the reckless use of the nerve agent has claimed further victims.
It is not surprising that there may be residue from the original Russian operation. Imagine being an intelligence officer tasked to undertake an assassination in a foreign country. Your mission is to smear lethal material on a door handle in a quiet residential area and then get away safely. You will not want to linger in the street where your victim lives. So you mix the materials somewhere nearby—not far away as you don’t want to spend too long carrying the stuff around.
Once you have done the deed you want to get rid of all the paraphernalia, because it is both dangerous and incriminating. You dump it and leave the area as quickly as you can. If that leads to a continuing hazard that is not your problem—you just want to get away safely. We do not know yet but it looks as though this is what led to the death of Sturgess and—at time of writing—the risk to Charlie Rowley’s life.
The combination of the UK’s global intelligence capabilities and the detective expertise of the Anti-Terrorist Branch at Scotland Yard mean that it is likely that in due course the authorities will know not just that the Russians did it, but who did it, and how. These things take time and it may be necessary to keep details of the investigation secret from the public. By way of comparison, it took some time before the authorities were really confident about the backstory to Alexander Litvinenko’s murder…