Yulia has made a full recovery and left the hospital last Monday.
British intelligence officer Mark Sedwill penned a letter to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about the country’s investigation into the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
The letter includes reasons why the UK believes Russia performed the attack, but also says that the Kremlin spied on Yulia’s emails for years.
Sedwill wrote that the British “have information indication Russian intelligence service interest in the Skripals, dating back at least as far as 2013, when e-mail accounts belonging to Yulia Skripal were targeted by GRU cyber specialists.”
Sedwill did not provide the specific information they have, but noted that “Russian intelligence services view at least some of its defectors as legitimate targets for assassination.” I mean, after all, 15 exiled Russians in the UK have been poisoned in the past 20 years or so.
Sedwill reminds Stoltenberg that British officials “found that Sergey and Yulia were poisoned using a specific Novichok nerve agent.” Unfortunately, the tests could not prove the origin of the country or lab.
But using “credible open-source reporting and intelligence” showed Britain why it more than likely came from Russia, which “developed a new class of ‘fourth generation’ nerve agents, known as Novichoks,” in the 1980s. Sedwill believes the Russians developed these Novichoks “to prevent detection by the West and to circumvent international chemical weapons control.”
Russia signed the Chemical Weapons Conventions (CWC) in 1993, and intelligence says that “it is likely that some Novichoks had passed acceptance testing, allowing their use by the Russian military.” The country failed to “report any work on Novichoks” in its CWC declaration.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had a hand in Russia’s chemical weapons program in the mid-2000s. Sedwill wrote that during this time, the country “commenced a programme to test means of delivering chemical warfare agents and to train personnel from special units in the use of these weapons.” These people investigated and tried out different ways to apply the poisons, “including application to door handles.” Sedwill said that “Russia has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichoks under the same programme.”
Due to this evidence, Sedwill stressed that it’s “highly unlikely that any former Soviet republic (other than Russia) pursued an offensive chemical weapons programme after independence” and that it’s “unlikely that Novichoks could be made and deployed by non-state actors (eg a criminal or terrorist group).”
Russia has performed its usual denial dance and insisted that the country “completed the destruction of all its Soviet-era chemical weapons last year under international oversight.” The Kremlin also believes that anyone could have produced this nerve agent.
Yulia has recovered and left the hospital on Monday. From CBS News:
“I was treated there with obvious clinical expertise and with such kindness, that I have found I missed the staff immediately,” Skripal said. “I have left my father in their care, and he is still seriously ill too. I too am still suffering with the effects of the nerve agent used against us.”
The Russian Embassy had the nerve to reach out to Yulia and offer help, but she shoved the words aside. From The Telegraph:
“I find myself in a totally different life than the ordinary one I left just over a month ago, and I am seeking to come to terms with my prospects, whilst also recovering from this attack on me.
“I have specially trained officers available to me, who are helping to take care of me and to explain the investigative processes that are being undertaken. I have access to friends and family, and I have been made aware of my specific contacts at the Russian Embassy who have kindly offered me their assistance in any way they can. At the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services, but, if I change my mind I know how to contact them.
“Most importantly, I am safe and feeling better as time goes by, but I am not yet strong enough to give a full interview to the media, as I one day hope to do. Until that time, I want to stress that no one speaks for me, or for my father, but ourselves.”
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