At 4:15 p.m. on March 4th, Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found collapsed on a bench in Salisbury, England. Skripal was convicted and jailed by the Russian government for revealing the identity of undercover Russian intelligence agents in Europe to the MI6, the United Kingdom’s secret service. The Russian spy earned his freedom, along with four other prisoners, in a “spy swap” in exchange for ten Russian spies arrested by the FBI. Skripral and his daughter were in critical condition for nearly a month while investigators worked to find the unknown substance they suspected poisoned the victims. On March 29th, Yulia Skripral’s health improved and she was conscious and talking. On April 6th, Sergei Skripal was removed from intensive care and is no longer in critical condition. Minister Theresa May states that the poison was a military grade nerve agent and that it was “highly likely” that the Russian government was responsible.
Eyewitness Freya Church discovered the former spy collapsed on a bench. Church said she saw “an older guy and a younger girl. She was sort of leant in on him, it looked like she had passed out maybe. He was doing some strange hand movements, looking up to the sky…They looked so out of it, I thought even if I did step in I wasn’t sure how I could help.”
This case draws many parallels with the murder of former Russian intelligence agent Alexander Litvinenko. Litvinenko left Russia for Britain and then expressed his harsh criticism of Putin. Prior to his death, Litvinenko had become a British citizen. On November 1, 2006, the former spy drank tea in his apartment and later spent the night vomiting. Litvinenko checked into Barnet General Hospital in north London after the realization that he had been poisoned. Sixteen days later, Litvinenko passed away. The poison was identified as polonium-210, a highly radioactive substance that is impossible to treat. Russia denied any involvement with the murder. Unlike Litvinenko, Colonel Skripal and his daughter survive the attempted murder.
Vladimir Putin is the main suspect. The dictator’s critics and opposition have all died under similar and very suspicious circumstances like Litvinenko. Sergei Skripal gave very valuable information to the MI6 and impaired Russia’s spy operations, so it’s not a stretch to conclude that Putin would arrange for his murder. As expected, the Russian government denied any involvement.
Alex Warmus, Staff Writer
Sophomore Alex Warmus is a staff writer for the 2017-2018 Colonel. He is a three sport athlete but more importantly, he will roast you.