Earlier this week, the man his neighbours and townfolks described as "friendly, sociable and living in full view", Sergei Skripal was found ill on a bench in Salisbury along with his 33-year-old daughter, also ill. He had been living a quiet and reserved life away from his former occupation, having "been thoroughly debriefed" indulging in his love of polish sausages, vodka and lottery tickets. Which is why the unusual circumstances led to the counterterrorism unit getting involved as well as warnings from Boris Johnson if the Kremlin does get linked to the suspected nerve agent used on Skripal.

Russophobia or Putin Patriotism?

Allegedly Russian spy Sergei Skripal was recruited by Mi6 in 1995 and since then has given up the names of thousands of Russian Intelligence Officers. Russia, as well as the Russian embassy in London, has denied any involvement in the attack accusing the UK of "Hysteria and Russophobia". In support of this Skripal spent several years in a Russian prison and was "thoroughly debriefed" and the several years following an assassination could have been easily arranged in that time. Now, however, it is suspect that this has happened close to the Russian Presidential elections, to which this could have been some vote-winning ploy. Made suspect by a tweet from the embassy "He was actually a British spy, working for Mi6" despite this it seems unlikely that the assassination attempt of an unknown spy would cause patriotic passions to rise.

Cautious yet firm

Number 10 has been somewhat cautious about linking this incident directly to the Kremlin despite Theresa May making a somewhat passive aggressive threat last November "We know what you are doing and you will not succeed" a statement made directly at Russia. It seems the likelihood of this attack is a warning to other operatives in aiding western intelligence, as numerous other assassinations on Russian Intelligence Officers have been in financial warfare, this seems to ring true as a further warning to those who aid Mi6 or the CIA.

Even as a deterrent this is likely not to be met with tepid warnings if it is successfully linked back to Russia. A bold risk such as this in terms of political climate could have only have come with a signature from the president at the very top. Especially with today's announcement that the military has been brought in to further investigate, the nerve agent has been described as rare and allegedly not terribly difficult to track its source, however, "but the authority behind it is another matter"