The explosive story of the poisoning of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and what it reveals about the growing clandestine conflict between the West and Russia
Salisbury, England: March 4, 2018.
Slumped on a bench, paralyzed and barely able to breathe, were a former Russian intelligence officer named Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. Sergei had been living a quiet life in England since 2010, when he was expelled from Russia as part of a spy swap; he had been serving a lengthy prison sentence for working secretly for the British intelligence agency MI6. On this Sunday afternoon, he and his daughter had just finished lunch at a local restaurant when they started to feel faint. Within minutes they were close to death.
The Skripals had been poisoned, not with a familiar toxin but with Novichok, a deadly nerve agent developed in southern Russia. Was this a message from the Kremlin that traitors would not escape violent death, even on British soil? As Sergei and Yulia fought for their lives, and the British government and their allies sought answers, relations between the West and Russia descended to a new low.