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The Skripal assassination: what is Putin thinking?

With the attack on Sergei Skripal, Vladimir Putin has torn up one of the Cold War’s great conventions

By Jay Elwes  

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: YURI GRIPAS/UPI/PA Images

The attempted poisoning of a former Russian double agent in Salisbury has broken all the rules. Not just those on criminal violence, or on acts of aggression in foreign countries. By attempting to assassinate Sergei Skripal, Vladimir Putin has fundamentally changed the rules of the spying game. The implications of that are far-reaching.

In 2004, Skripal was caught by the FSB and jailed in Russia for passing secrets to MI6. But in 2010, he was pardoned by the then Russian President…

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