New tensions rise this week as critical information is bought to light regarding the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal as U.K. evidence points back to activities of the Kremlin. The poisoning, which occurred on Sunday 4th of March in Salisbury city, took effect after the individuals visited Zizzi restaurant. The couple was later found slumped on a bench by concerned members of the public. The Guardian News this week published a series of articles arguing the attempted poisoning to be just one attack in a chronicle of other previous murders, namely the killings of Alexander Litvinenko and Boris Berezovsky .
In a statement published by the Guardian this week, Sir Andrew Wood the former British ambassador to Russia from 1995 – 2000 explained, “It’s typical of the state that Russia is in and its very hard to see what they can get from this. Its advertises the fact that they are vindictive and dedicated to pursuing revenge.” In response to these allegations the Russian embassy published a statement through Twitter this week stating , “Investigation of Sergei Skripal case follows the Litvinenko script: most info to be classified, Russia to get no access to investigation files and no opportunity to assess its credibility.”
The brazen nature of this attack occurring in broad daylight, in the centre of the city and the unforgiving nature of the Russian government creates a clear red flag of danger for the rest of the U.K. public. If the Russian embassy has continued to subtlety eliminate their enemies from within the U.K. since 2006, this would thus create a definite social milieu of distrust, violence and deception to be propagated within U.K.–Russian relations.
Cobra’s published findings on Saturday further fuels speculation that the Skripal’s poisoning was an action chronicled within a deeper history of conflict between the two nations. Specifically, Alexander Litvinenko, a former officer of the FSB was found poisoned with polonium in 2006. Allegedly targeted by two Russian agents who were acting on behalf of the FSB. Similarly, Boris Berezovsky, an exiled Russian oligarch who was in opposition of Putin’s regime was found hanged in 2013. More compellingly however is the notion that it was both Berezovsky and Litvinenko who are recognized to have helped convinced Skripal to become a spy for the British.
The deaths of these two political critics and the attempted murder of a third, thus further exacerbates the tensions surrounding British–Russian relations. The attempted murder comes at a time of simultaneous political, financial and social upheaval for both countries, with Putins reelection in March and the huge Brexit decision made by the British, thus heightening their isolationist stance within the European Union. The callous use of this ‘nerve agent’ against the backdrop of a sleepily British town critically blurs the line between previously defined notions of national and international conflict. Thus this divide between the two worlds is no longer recognized to exist by the public as local and international conflicts alike become the business of a globalized world.