Specifically, the nerve toxin used in the attempted broad daylight assassination was custom tailored in Russian laboratories.
After the U.K.’s National Security Council revealed the substance is one of a group of nerve agents called “Novichok,” the kingdom’s administrative leader went in front of lawmakers to demand answers from the Russian government.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Theresa May told members of Parliament that government experts determined “it was highly likely” that the Kremlin was behind the assassination attempt in the town of Salisbury.
The prime minister called on Russia’s ambassador to either admit “losing control” of one of its nerve agent toxins or confess to taking “direct action.” It has to be one or the other, she insists.
According to PM May, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, ordered Moscow to turn over “full and complete disclosure” of the Novichok chemical weapons program to an international watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Secretary Johnson wants them to have all of it by Tuesday. Sitting on their hands to buy time isn’t going to work.
“Should there be no credible response, we will conclude that this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom,” PM May states.
Pulling out of the upcoming World Cup soccer match is just one of the options on the table.
Prime Minister May explains if action is indicated from the response or lack thereof, she will go in front of all assembled lawmakers to “set out the full range of measures that we will take in response.”
On Sunday, March 4th, the 66-year-old retired spy, and his 33-year-old daughter were seen collapsing on a park bench. Bystanders thought they were witnessing a narcotic overdose reaction.
Eight days after the ambush, both targets remain in “critical but stable” condition.
One of the first policemen to reach the scene, Det. Sgt. Nick Bailey was also poisoned, just from limited contact with the victims. He still remains in the hospital, seriously ill. He has regained consciousness and has been talking to his family.
Local residents were told to wash their clothes and wipe down phones and possessions after it was determined that 500 or so patrons of Zizzi restaurant and the Mill pub were exposed. Baby wipes were specifically recommended to clean “gadgets and jewelry.”
The pair occupied a table in Zizzi which was found to have traces of the poison on and around it. The table was removed and destroyed. All of the employees’ uniforms were incinerated.
Workers were “reimbursed for lost items, paid until the end of next week and offered shifts at nearby branches.” The Mill Pub also remains closed from traces of the potent toxins.
A day after the poison was released, officers were still observed wearing hazmat suits in the area.
A white van was removed from the nearby village of Winterslow and a public parking lot in Salisbury was also roped off.
In today’s announcement, Mrs. May notified the ministers that the positive ID of Russian nerve agents came from experts at the Porton Down laboratory who confirm that “Russia has previously produced the agent and would still be capable of doing so.”
“Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations and our assessment that Russia views some defectors as legitimate targets for assassinations,” adds even more evidence.
As insider Bill Browder noted immediately following the attack, “Putin has publicly said that he kills traitors wherever they are in the world.” In 2010, Mr. Skripal was part of a spy exchange between MI6 and Russia.
“We don’t know much, but based on the headlines from yesterday, who the person was, his relationship with the Kremlin, and the circumstances of his collapse, the first operating assumption should be that this was an assassination attempt by the Kremlin against a traitor of Russia.”
Russian authorities continue to deny any involvement at all. Prime Minister May’s remarks are a “fairy tale,” their Foreign Ministry maintains.
A spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova called the Prime Minister’s accusation “a circus show in the British parliament.”
Zakharova counters that “the conclusion is obvious, it’s another information and political campaign based on provocation.”
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin sidestepped the issue. “Get to the bottom of things there, then we’ll discuss this,” he told reporters.
Putin may actually have a good reason for taking a wait and see approach. Ties are surfacing that indicate Skripal had connections with Christopher Steele and the infamous “Trump dossier.”
According to British news outlet the Telegraph, an unidentified “security consultant” hired by “the company that compiled the controversial dossier on Donald Trump, was close to the Russian double agent poisoned last weekend.”
The article says “he lived near Col. Skripal and knew him for a very long time.”