One week after a former Russian double agent and his daughter were poisoned in a British city, British health authorities are today advising city residents to take precautionary actions, while law enforcement continue to investigate the poisoning as yet another suspicious Russia-linked incident in Britain.
The health risk to residents in Salisbury remains low. We have published precautionary advice for those who were in The Mill pub or Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury on Sunday 4 or Monday 5 March 2018 https://t.co/bi6goK6GsY
— PublicHealthEngland (@PHE_uk) March 11, 2018
Sergei Skripal, 66, is a Russian ex-military intelligence specialist officer who acted as a double agent for Britain. He was arrested by Russia in 2004 and convicted of spying for Britain in 2006 but was pardoned and released in 2010 as part of the Illegals Program spy swap.
On March 4th, he and his 33-year-old daughter were discovered unconscious on a park bench. After arriving at a hospital, medical staff found traces of a nerve agent and determined they had been poisoned.
It is unclear how this incident will affect Britain’s relationship with Russia. The Guardian writes about the ramifications of the poisoning:
The attempted murder of Sergei Skripal has shed uncomfortable light on Britain’s vulnerability to foreign threats, some potentially emanating from foreign governments, against its sovereignty, security, citizens’ safety and laws.
The brazen nature and public execution of the plot to kill Skripal is disturbing for many reasons. It suggests respect for Britain, its values and its law enforcement capabilities is so diminished that it is seen as an easy venue for score-settling.
Or was the plot intended, at least in part, to deliberately discredit and humiliate the British government? A handful of countries might have cause to do that. But only one or two possess the rare nerve agent, the sheer malice and the ruthless audacity evident in this case.
In the meantime, Skripal and his daughter remain in critical condition, as does the police officer who was sent to Skripal’s home and was subsequently hospitalized, and authorities are investigating the poisoning as attempted murder.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.