The Henry Jackson Society this evening reacted to the illness of Sergei Skripal, who reports say collapsed in Salisbury yesterday and is a Russian national convicted of spying for Britain.
Dr Andrew Foxall, Director of the Russia and Eurasia Studies Centre at the Henry Jackson Society, said:
“If confirmed, this would be the second case of a former Russian ‘spy’ being exposed to an unknown substance in the UK. The first, of course, was Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned by polonium-210 in 2006.
“A third Russian, the businessman-turned-whistleblower Alexander Perepilichny, died in Surrey in 2012 after allegedly being poisoned by a rare toxin. An inquiry into his death is ongoing.
“MI5 believes that there are now more Russian spies in Britain than during the height of the Cold War. They will likely be experienced in all manner of activities, from intelligence gathering to wetwork.
“While it is too soon to attribute responsibility, it would be foolhardy if the authorities were not to explore the Russia connection in relation to Mr Skripal’s illness.”