The poisoning of Sergey Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer and his daughter is the topical issue in the world. However, it is not a unique case and the representatives of Russia’s opposition who escaped from Kremlin to London are still on the hook as The New York Times reported.
According to the former British intelligence officials, there are more intelligence agents of Russia in London today than it was in the times of the Cold War. They serve a variety of functions, including building contacts among the British politicians but their main task is to keep an eye on the hundreds of Russia who are aligned with Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia and those who stay against him.
London became a place that gathers everybody: Putin’s friends and former friends, enemies and allies. A lot of them send the children to the public schools in Britain that also plays a role in the choosing of the place.
Moreover, London is interesting for Russia as there is a base for commercial intelligence-gathering firms. For example, one of them is headed by Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who gathered the information on the Trump ties with Russia and particularly, Putin.
A few people such as Vladimir Ashurkov, the representative of the Russian opposition, Yevgeny Chichvarkin, the mobile-phone tycoon who escaped from Russia in 2009 and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian tycoon imprisoned for a decade in Russia also came to London. All of them confirm that they are still prosecuted by Russia’s agents but here, in the UK, they are able to live without body guards.
However, the case with Skripal is not the first. In 2006, Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian agent was killed and it is likely that he was ordered by Kremlin.
Bill Browder, the investor who led the campaigns that aim to impose sanctions against Putin and his allies claimed that the situation changes.
‘The British government has created a dangerous situation by not creating consequences for Litvinenko. If there is no reaction for Skripal after Litvinenko, then there is a high probability I will be killed next’.
As we reported British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to coordinate their actions in the investigation of Russia's involvement in the poisoning of former GRU officer Sergei Skripal.