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Before former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia collapsed on a park bench in Salisbury on 4 March, the only other person confirmed to suffer the effects of novichok was a young Soviet chemical weapons scientist.
“Circles appeared before my eyes: red and orange. A ringing in my ears, I caught my breath. And a sense of fear: like something was about to happen,” Andrei Zheleznyakov told the now-defunct newspaper Novoye Vremya, describing the 1987 weapons lab incident that exposed him to a nerve agent that would eventually kill him. “I sat down on a chair and told the guys: ‘It’s got me.’”
By 1992, when the interview was published, the nerve agent had gutted Zheleznyakov’s central nervous system. Less than a year later he was dead, after battling cirrhosis, toxic hepatitis, nerve damage and epilepsy.
He made clear he now believed his life was in danger because of the British secret service - and his bank accounts and credit cards had been suddenly blocked.
originally posted by: TrueBrit
a reply to: Kester
It is interesting that such an attack would come in a location so close to the UK chemical weapons research station, Porton Down.
The history that the town of Salisbury has, in terms of its having been experimented on by the operators of the research branch at Porton Down in the past, and its close proximity to the installation, casts a muddy light on this situation. Looking at this from the perspective of the British government, if there were to be a chemical attack on the people of this country (which, regardless of the identity of the primary target, this most certainly qualifies as), the ideal place for it to happen is somewhere close to the resources they would want to deploy, to combat the threat represented by it. This occurring so close to Porton Down, means that even in the event of a wider spread assault, the best resources we have as a nation to deal with it, would have been right on top of the exposure site, able to immediately respond to the situation if necessary.
It would be like a person starting a fire right across the street from the fire station, or a thug performing a mugging outside the police station. If the intention of the perpetrator is to cause harm, it would make more sense for them to do their business further away from the resources which might best foil their plans, or limit the effectiveness of their plans.
But no, this man was poisoned within easy reach of the nations foremost experts in chemical and biological warfare, the only people in the country who could be expected to step in to positively effect this specific situation. Surely some other method of assassination would have been more... effective in this instance? Deaths made to look like accident or suicide would be preferable, surely, to attacking a man with a nerve agent, right on the doorstep of the people who could most effectively prevent his death? You don't shoot a man with a pistol when he is sat within a battle tank, and you do not attack a man with nerve agent, right on top of a chemical weapons research laboratory. It makes very little sense, as operations go.
Some might say "Well sure, but it sends a heck of a message!". It does, but at this stage the message is simply that this was a messy, unprofessionally organised hit, using a method ill suited to the situation, which has failed to kill its target as of yet, had collateral effects, and has attracted an awful lot of negative attention toward the assumed perpetrator, or at least, the nation from which they allegedly came.
originally posted by: oldcarpy
a reply to: TrueBrit
Actually, Russia does have a history of failed assassination attempts, see article here:
So, no, they do not "always get the damned job done".
Personally I think that this has all the hallmarks of Russia. I don't understand why these two are still alive and am no expert but maybe it was a duff batch or something went wrong with the method of delivery, but I am still going with Russia teaching "traitors" or potential traitors a nasty lesson.
originally posted by: Kurokage
a reply to: BigDave-AR
The polonium was traced as it left "flags" all over the place and was easier to place blame where it belonged, with Putins goverment. By doing it this way, it has "some" deniability and Putin and his goverment can try and place the blame elsewhere.