According to the author, it is difficult for Skripal to get used to the idea that they tried to poison him.
Former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal found it difficult to believe that the Russian authorities were trying to poison him, says the author of a new book about him, BBC journalist Mark Urban.
According to Urban, whose book is based on an interview with Skripal, for a long time he could not get used to the idea that an attempt was made on him and his daughter Yulia..
Urban confirms that Skripal passed information about the activities of Russian intelligence to Western intelligence services last year, but the book does not explain why former GRU colleagues decided to attempt on his life this year, just a few weeks before the re-election of Russian President Vladimir Putin..
According to interviews in the book The Skripal Case, the former intelligence officer did provide the British intelligence services with information about the corruption scheme of the 1990s, in which, among others, a high-ranking Russian intelligence figure and Putin ally Nikolai Patrushev was involved.
In March, Skripal and his daughter were attacked with a nerve agent, which British officials blame the Kremlin for, insisting that the evidence suggests the order came from the highest echelons of power. In July, a British citizen who had nothing to do with the original attack died from poisoning with the same substance poured into a discarded perfume bottle..
Britain, the United States and most European countries have responded to the Salisbury assassination attempt with the expulsion of Russian diplomats and financial sanctions. The Kremlin denies any involvement in the attack, either claiming that there was no attempt at all, then insisting that it was carried out by Great Britain itself or some third party with the aim of blaming Russia.
Skripal was a double agent in the 1990s and worked for the British intelligence services. In December 2004, he was arrested by the Russian authorities, after which he was found guilty of treason and sentenced to 13 years in prison. He was released as part of a spy exchange in 2010 and settled in Salisbury. According to Urban, Skripal was betrayed by a recruited agent in Spanish intelligence.
On Wednesday, speaking at an energy forum in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin unexpectedly gave Skripal a harsh characterization. “I see that some of your colleagues are pushing the theory that Mr. Skripal is almost a human rights defender of some sort,” the Russian leader said. – He’s just a spy, a traitor to the Motherland. There is such a concept – a traitor to the Motherland. Here he is – one of them. He’s just a bastard. “.
In his book, Urban describes several meetings with Skripal in 2017, about nine months before the poisoning. According to him, Skripal did not want to be quoted directly, explaining: “We are afraid of Putin.” He did not want to incur the anger of the Kremlin so that his daughter Yulia and son Alexander could freely come to him from Moscow.
Another important question that the book fails to answer is why the assassination attempt was so unsuccessful, according to analysts and intelligence sources. When it comes to contract killings and kidnappings in other countries, the Russian special services have an intimidating reputation. However, there were misfires on their account..
However, analysts and Western intelligence officials are wondering whether the failed Salisbury assassination attempt was simply the result of intelligence ineptitude or a demonstrative disdain on the part of the GRU. “Both alleged killers did not bother to hide their tracks and used the same aliases and fake passports on several trips across Europe,” a former British intelligence official told VOA. “This is either a lousy preparation, or a demonstration of complete carelessness.”.
The British authorities have publicly revealed the names allegedly used by the killers: Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov.
🇷🇺 Who poisoned ex-Russian agent Sergey Skripal and his daughter? | Inside Story
Moscow reacted disparagingly to reports that one of the two suspects was in fact GRU Colonel Anatoly Chepiga, holder of the country’s most honorable title of Hero of Russia..
As reported on Tuesday by the Russian-language service of Radio Liberty and the Bellingcat investigation team, Chepiga was spotted in a photograph at the military academy where he studied. Bellingcat has previously provided a number of other information about Boshirov’s ties to the GRU, based on passport databases, online photographs and data from military archives..
According to Russian journalist Sergei Kanev, who participated in Bellingcat’s investigations, Chepiga may have played a key role in the evacuation of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, during the protests in Kiev. According to Kanev, the wife of 39-year-old Chepiga Galina, with whom they are raising two children, also worked as an undercover agent in other countries..