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Is aggression the best defence?

Is aggression the best defence?
The Salisbury crime investigations that clearly cornered Russia and had all of Britain's allies taking prompt action has taken more than an interesting turn. Now, the Putin government claims it could have been in the interests of Britain to poison Sergei Skripal. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Britain may have poisoned its former agent Sergei Skripal even as the Kremlin continues to deny the involvement by suggesting that there were "other explanations" over who may have targeted the former Russian double agent in Salisbury. "The nerve agent attack could be beneficial to the British government, which has found itself in a difficult situation, unable to fulfil the promises they made about Brexit," he stated. The UK had accused Putin's government of culpability after identifying the nerve agent used as a Soviet-developed novichok. Prime Minister Theresa May said that Russia had failed to explain how it could possibly have lost the control of the weapon, meaning it must have been involved in the attack itself, an accusation that Kremlin vehemently denies. Conspiracy theories blaming the UK have been circulating online since the news first emerged of the attack on Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury. Both were poisoned by the novichok on their front door. Aggression can often be the best form of defence but Lavrov's accusations have taken matters a tad too far. Ben Nimmo, of the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab, said that many Russian news articles furthering the claims were based on "interviews with former security chiefs and weird commentators" with no expertise or credibility. According to him, a mounting disinformation campaign was using the "same techniques" as those seen after the incidents including the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight 17 using a missile from Russia. The Kremlin had reacted angrily to the expulsion of Russian diplomats starting with tit-for-tat expulsions. "Our western partners have forgotten about good manners and have resorted to outright lies and misinformation," remarked Lavrov. Victim Sergei Skripal moved to Salisbury after being handed over in a Cold War-style spy swap in 2010, having been jailed for treason in Russia for allegedly passing secrets to MI6 while a colonel in the GRU military intelligence agency. Experts at the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down identified the nerve agent used against the Skripals as a part of the Soviet-developed "novichoks" group. The Russian foreign ministry has submitted a list of questions to the OPCW about its investigation. It claimed that it would cooperate with the OPCW's investigations, but, interestingly, attacked the organisation just months ago after it found that Russia's ally Bashar al-Assad had used sarin in rebel-held areas in Syria. Russian Foreign ministry officials called an OPCW report biased, "unprofessional and amateur" at the time, claiming that the civilian deaths in Syria's Khan Sheikhoun may have been "staged".

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