#The Russian spy incident is dominating the government and the headlines, but the whole idea that Russia chose to try and kill someone in another nation isn’t absurd, however, there are a lot of aspects that make little sense. Firstly, Sergei Skripal frequently travelled to and from Russia, if they wanted him dead, it would have made more sense to do whilst he was in the country and lastly, why use a chemical that is a known Cold War development project?

Importantly, he’s not dead. If Russia had wanted him to be dead, he would be because look at every opponent of Putin. They have either been successfully silenced or imprisoned.

The timing makes little sense for Russia as well.

From Russia with love

If Sergei Skripal was such an enemy of the state that they would plan to kill him, it would have made sense to do so when he was on a visit in the country. This would make it easier for a cover-up. The chemical used, Novichok #Nerve Agent, was developed in the #soviet union – what is now Uzbekistan – and western intelligence agencies would be aware of the chemical. Furthermore, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia destroyed the lab, the chemical and all the research. Theresa May’s bold claim that Russia are responsible for the attack rests entirely on a former military chemist of the Soviet Union, Vil Mirzayanov.

Theresa May’s leadership has been marred with mistake after mistake and this is a perfect opportunity to use as PR for the ‘strong and stable’ mantra that failed during the election last year.

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She has also claimed that no-one could have known about the nerve agent because it was a secret experiment by the Soviet Union that was subsequently destroyed. Except, its existence is debatable with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (the body the UK refuses to work with in the Skripal case) saying:

“Regarding new toxic chemicals not listed in the Annex on Chemicals but which may nevertheless pose a risk to the Convention.”

“The name “Novichok” is used in a publication of a former Soviet scientist who reported investigating a new class of nerve agents suitable for use as binary chemical weapons. The SAB states that it has insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of “Novichoks”.

Not only that, the former head of the detection laboratory at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down (the lab who ‘identified’ the poison), Dr Robin Black, has previously stated that the validity of its existence is debatable. Nonetheless, there has to be an open mind about this because it is something that could have remained hidden because there have been no independent confirmations of the chemical structures existence.

The problem with Theresa May’s claim in parliament that the chemical structure of Novichok is still a secret today, is that the source of this claim, Vil Mirzayanov, has published the formula in his 2008 book, ‘State Secrets: An Insider's Chronicle of the Russian Chemical Weapons Program’, which is still available to buy on Amazon for £5.89 on Kindle. If the formula does work, a claim debated by chemists, then pretty much anyone can get hold of the formula, including anyone with the desire, funds and skill to be able to produce the nerve agent would have known of the book beforehand.

Subsequent measures taken by the government

23 of Russia's 58 London diplomats expelled and all planned high-level UK-Russia contacts suspended, Invitation for Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's UK visit rescinded, with a new 'Magnitsky law' to strengthen sanctions on human rights abusers. Urgent new laws to 'harden our defences against all forms of hostile state activity', this will include a targeted power to detain those suspected of hostile state activity at the UK border. This is currently only allowed for terror suspects. Increased checks on private flights, customs and freight. Freeze on Russian state assets if they may be used to threaten life or property of UK nationals or residents and other covert measures that "cannot be shared publicly for reasons of National Security”.

Defence Minister, Gavin Williams, will use his first major speech and the incident to call for the prioritisation of military funding, he will also give Porton Down a cash boost of £48 million as a reward for ‘identifying’ the poison. He plans to call on the UK to step forward at this “crossroads”. As JFK said in his President and the Press speech, “If you are awaiting a finding of "clear and present danger," then I can only say that the danger has never been more clear and its presence has never been more imminent.” This I relate to the actions taken by the British government.