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Poisoned By Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks through the scope as he shoots a Chukavin sniper rifle during a visit to the military Patriot Park in Kubinka, outside Moscow, on September 19, 2018.
ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin looks through the scope as he shoots a Chukavin sniper rifle during a visit to the military Patriot Park in Kubinka, outside Moscow, on September 19, 2018.

About six months ago Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia were found on a bench in an English city, hallucinating and foaming at the mouth.

It was later revealed that they were targeted by a military-grade nerve agent, a substance which came into the country disguised as a bottle of Nina Ricci perfume.

Find a play-by-play of the poisoning from the BBC

Both Skripal and his daughter survived, and the identity of the two individuals who poisoned them was revealed by investigative news agency Bellingcat. Bellingcat reported that both men were agents of the GRU (Russia’s intelligence agency), and they both received Russia’s highest state award.

Skripal was a former member of the Russian intelligence service, who was released to the West after passing secrets to Britain’s former intelligence service. Even though some describe him as “a little fish,” his betrayal was enough to inspire retribution, in a story that seems like it’s straight out of a spy thriller.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called Skripal a “scumbag.”

And the poisoning had real diplomatic consequences. In retaliation, the United Kingdom expelled 23 Russian diplomats. The U.S., Canada, Germany and France also expelled 145 Russian officials, and Russia responded by kicking out 23 British diplomats, 60 US diplomats and several from other countries, all according to the BBC.

Journalist Mark Urban is the only journalist known to have spoken with Sergei Skripal, and his new book is called “The Skripal Files.”

Why would the GRU target someone with a minor role? What does the Skripal poisoning tell us about the shadowy world of Russian intelligence? And who might be the next victim of the Russian government?

Produced by Morgan Givens. Text by Gabrielle Healy.

GUESTS

Mark Urban, Author, “The Skripal Files”; Historian, broadcaster, reporter; diplomatic editor, BBC TV’s Newsnight; @MarkUrban01

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

© 2018 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio.

Copyright 2018 WAMU 88.5

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