Salisbury, England, is a sleepy market town. Nothing much happens there…until last Sunday when two people were found unconscious on a park bench. Then all hell broke loose and it became a major international incident affecting the major powers in the world. That is because the two people were Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. He was a former spy for the UK in Russia, and the means of their attempted assassination was a toxic nerve agent.
By now everyone knows that the attempted assassination was “most likely” by the Russians, as stated by British PM Theresa May in her speech to the House of Commons. She said it could have been by a rogue group within Russia who got hold of the particular nerve agent that is a military product of the Russian State, or the Russian State itself, in other words by Pres. Vladimir Putin. In this case it was evidently an assassination ordered by Putin and probably carried out either by Russian agents or indirectly by some paid assassins. The fact that the nerve agent is known to be a Russian military grade product makes it most likely that the Russian State was directly involved in this incident.
Remember that this is not the first such assassination carried out in Britain by the Soviets/Russians. In 1978 Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident, was murdered by the injection of a tiny ball coated with the deadly nerve agent ricin that was in the tip of an umbrella with which he was stabbed as he got off a bus; in 2013 Boris Berezovsky, an oligarch who fell out with Putin, was found hanged in this bathroom in London; in 2006 Alexander Litvinenko was assassinated using highly radioactive polonium, and there are other mysterious deaths and “suicides.” After the Litvinenko murder the UK took severe political actions against Russia, including sanctions and expelling several diplomats (actually KGB agents). They also indicted the man responsible for the murder, although he is still at large in Russia.
PM May gave Putin a few days to come up with an explanation of the incident and when he didn’t she expelled 23 members of the Russian Embassy from the UK and imposed sanctions. You just can’t allow agents from another country to come into your country and kill someone, and particularly not with such a dangerous substance that has endangered the lives of ordinary British citizens. In fact one constable is in grave danger from contact with the agent and a restaurant and a pub where traces were found have been closed and the number of people visiting Salisbury have dropped significantly.
And now Pres. Trump is said to be reassessing his response to Pres. Putin. The US imposed its own sanctions and the US, France and Germany issued a joint statement with the UK deploring Russian actions in this case. So far Trump has shown a rare degree of sympathy for Putin, as a strong fellow-leader. But, now he is beginning to understand how dangerous Putin is, as a former KGB Colonel, as a ruthless murderer of his opponents and an enemy of democracy. As is well-known, they have a certain way of doing things in Russia (as it was under the Czars and under Stalin), if you can’t beat your enemy, you kill your enemy!