Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > PPRuNe Social > Jet Blast
Reload this Page >

Sergei Skripal

Jet Blast Topics that don't fit the other forums. Rules of Engagement apply.

Sergei Skripal

Old 16th Jun 2020, 12:10
  #3201 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Age: 50
Posts: 1,597
Originally Posted by Sallyann1234 View Post
Bearing in mind the extreme toxicity of this stuff, what comes over most strongly to me is how incredibly fortunate the two intended victims were to have survived.
I understand that the "official" reason is... cold. Salisbury is well known for its extreme climate. Somehow it protected the Skripals.

But they were also fortunate that by coincidence the first responder was the Chief Nurse of the British Army and that by coincidence doctors with specialist chemical weapons training were on duty when they were admitted.

Also lucky was Det Sgt Nick Bailey, his wife and children as the agent "was found in almost every room of the house. Kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedrooms. It was even on the light switches. In the family car too" and his colleagues at the police station where they continued to work for several days before it was closed down.

Not to mention the patrons and staff of Zizzis and the Bishops Mill pub, where dozens of deadly deposits were discovered.

Unfortunate was Dawn Sturgess, whose companion Charlie Rowley somehow retrieved a sealed bottle of the agent more than two months after the facts and used as a perfume with deadly consequences.
atakacs is offline  
Old 16th Jun 2020, 12:11
  #3202 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Ilmington, Warwickshire
Posts: 137
Unbelievable that some scumbags have thought it was ok to post derogatory comments about Nick Baileys wife, Sarah. Good for her in rising above it.

https://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/n...ry-poisonings/
BehindBlueEyes is online now  
Old 16th Jun 2020, 12:36
  #3203 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: West Wiltshire, UK
Age: 67
Posts: 378
Probably worth remembering that this agent can be detected at levels many times lower than that needed to produce any adverse effects in people that come into contact with it, so the majority of the positive tests will have been for trace amounts that may have been unlikely to cause harm.

In terms of the amount needed to kill, around 200g or so, then it's worth comparing that to the current coronavirus, to get an idea as to the scale of the risk from contaminated surfaces. SARS-CoV-2 seems likely to be able to cause severe disease and death at exposure levels equivalent to a mass of around 0.5g, assuming that it needs around 1,000 virions to cause disease.

In other words, SARS-CoV-2 is around 400 times more likely to cause harm by transfer from surfaces than A-234 is, although clearly SARS-CoV-2 is significantly less toxic in its effects. If A-234 behaves like VX (a reasonable assumption) then the difference between a dose that causes the onset of symptoms and the dose that causes death if untreated is probably pretty small.
VP959 is online now  
Old 16th Jun 2020, 14:02
  #3204 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: England
Posts: 349
Originally Posted by atakacs View Post
I understand that the "official" reason is... cold. Salisbury is well known for its extreme climate. Somehow it protected the Skripals.
Yes. It was so extreme that your two compatriots, although used to Russian winters, had to make two trips to Salisbury before they could get through to the Cathedral.
Sallyann1234 is offline  
Old 16th Jun 2020, 15:58
  #3205 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Age: 50
Posts: 1,597
Yes. It was so extreme that your two compatriots, although used to Russian winters, had to make two trips to Salisbury before they could get through to the Cathedral.
Can you point to any reference that
  • would indicate that A-234 (or more generally VX) potency is affected by cold temperature
  • meteorological record that would indicate that the weather was so cold in Salisbury on that day that it would have significantly affected the body temperature of the Skripals

Originally Posted by VP959 View Post
In other words, SARS-CoV-2 is around 400 times more likely to cause harm by transfer from surfaces than A-234 is, although clearly SARS-CoV-2 is significantly less toxic in its effects. If A-234 behaves like VX (a reasonable assumption) then the difference between a dose that causes the onset of symptoms and the dose that causes death if untreated is probably pretty small.
A bit disappointed that you forgot to mention 210Po...

More seriously I understand that traces of the product can be detected at non-dangerous concentration levels. It seems quite lucky that it was the case in so many places (hotel room, police precinct,
Sgt Nick Bailey's home and car, Zizzis, the Bishops Mill pub and obviously the Skripal's home - I'm sure I forgot some) but I guess it is yet another coincidence.

And most certainly coincidental is the fact that both father and daughter got sick at the exact same time, despite being of different age, sex and body mass. But what can not be left to coincidence is that they got sick 4 hours after (supposed) exposure. I think even our esteemed VP959 will find that atypical, to say the least. Nerve agent have very quick effects, there is just no way you would be contaminated and enjoy a heavy lunch, a stroll in the park and get sick hours after exposure.

Again I don't pretend to know what happened on that day but some critical thinking should still be in order. Yes, the ministry of truth is in full swing on this weird incident and any question is necessarily treated as Rusian trolling. I have zero sympathies for M. Puttin and his goons but the current "official" narrative is just not believable to the extreme.

Last edited by atakacs; 16th Jun 2020 at 16:28.
atakacs is offline  
Old 16th Jun 2020, 16:05
  #3206 (permalink)  

Flashes from the Archives of Oblivion
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: 03 ACE
Age: 69
Posts: 3
Getting back to the BBC.
At the actual time of the event, it was presented as a bit of a Pantomime.
Sadly, the TV version is not much more than a Soap Opera.
Poorly cast, poorly performed.
More akin to East Enders than that of a significant event in English history.
Not Impressed !
El Grifo

Last edited by El Grifo; 16th Jun 2020 at 16:23.
El Grifo is offline  
Old 16th Jun 2020, 16:37
  #3207 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: West Wiltshire, UK
Age: 67
Posts: 378
Originally Posted by atakacs View Post
Can you point to any reference that
  • would indicate that A-234 (or more generally VX) potency is affected by cold temperature
  • meteorological record that would indicate that the weather was so cold in Salisbury on that day that it would have significantly affected the body temperature of the Skripals
Temperature has no effect on the toxicity of VX, so I'd assume, as A-234 is broadly similar in it's composition and action to VX, that temperature has little or no effect on its toxicity. There may well be some physical changes with temperature that effect the ease with which the agent is transferred and absorbed. VX is noticeably more viscous at low temperatures, and I'd expect A-234 to behave similarly.

As to the weather on that day, it had warmed up a bit and was between 4C and 8C that morning. Overnight the temperature had been just above freezing, and there was still some snow and slush around on the roads and pavements. Not sure that their body temperature would have affected the outcome, or that it would have been lower than normal. The time between them most probably being contaminated and the time they collapsed was several hours - it seems probable that the agent was placed on their door handle overnight, and they went to the cemetery in the morning, to visit his wife's grave, before going in to the city for lunch.


Originally Posted by atakacs View Post
A bit disappointed that you forgot to mention 210Po...
Outside my field of expertise, but one major problem with using polonium is that it has to be ingested, which would have presumably made it difficult to use in this scenario.

Originally Posted by atakacs View Post
More seriously I understand that traces of the product can be detected at non-dangerous concentration levels. It seems quite lucky that it was the case in so many places (hotel room, police precinct, Sgt Nick Bailey's home and car, Zizzis, the Bishops Mill pub and obviously the Skripal's home - I'm sure I forgot some) but I guess it is yet another coincidence. Nerve agent have very quick effects, there is just no way you would be contaminated and enjoy a heavy lunch, a stroll in the park and get sick hours after exposure.
The effects of many nerve agents can take several hours to become apparent, particularly when absorbed through the skin. The time between contact and onset of symptoms is very dose dependent, so someone having contact with a large dose of agent of this type over a large area of skin is likely to die much more quickly than someone who only receives a small dose over a smaller area of skin, especially if it is washed off, or wiped off, before it's had time to be fully absorbed. It may well be the case that hand contact could result in the agent only being on the skin for a relatively short time, either because it gets wiped off or washed off.

Originally Posted by atakacs View Post
And most certainly coincidental is the fact that both father and daughter got sick at the exact same time, despite being of different age, sex and body mass. But what can not be left to coincidence is that they got sick 4 hours after (supposed) exposure. I think even our esteemed VP959 will find that atypical, to say the least.
What we don't know is if they both fell ill at the same time. It may be that one of them started to feel unwell before the other, Sergei, perhaps, if he was the one that had the greatest exposure, or it may be that they both had a similar exposure, perhaps from secondary transfer of quite a small dose, and so both fell ill at around the same time. Given that they'd had drinks and lunch, it's possible that the early symptoms may have been confused with the effects of the drink or food they'd eaten. What is clear is that they fell ill much more quickly (perhaps 3 to 4 hours after contact) than Sgt Nick Bailey. That may well be dose-related, and also perhaps a difference in absorption rates depending on where they were each contaminated. In Sgt Nick Bailey's case, it seems probably that he picked up the agent on his gloves and then transferred it to several locations within Sergei Skripal's house, and somehow managed to also transfer it too his skin, either from hand to face contact (as shown in the dramatisation) or perhaps when doffing his gloves.


Originally Posted by atakacs View Post
Again I don't know what happened on that day but some critical thinking should still be in order. Yes, the ministry of truth is in full swing on this weird incident and any question is necessarily treated as Rusian trolling. I have zero sympathies for M. Puttin and his goons but the current "official" narrative is just not believable to the extreme.
The evidence that Mishkin and Chepiga were in Salisbury that weekend, and that they both work for the Russian security services seems incontrovertible. That they came to visit Salisbury as tourists, in mid-winter when most tourist places will have been closed over the weekend, seems an implausible explanation for their presence. The fact that they were recorded on CCTV passing the garage close to the suburban street where Sergei Skripal lived, and that no tourist would have any good reason to walk west away from the city centre, seems to confirm that they were involved. There may be no "smoking gun", that places these two known GRU agents at Sergei Skripal's house, putting A-234 on the front door handle, but the circumstantial evidence seems very compelling.
VP959 is online now  
Old 16th Jun 2020, 17:57
  #3208 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Москва/Ташкент
Age: 50
Posts: 826
The evidence that Mishkin and Chepiga were in Salisbury that weekend, and that they both work for the Russian security services seems incontrovertible.
Here in the RF most educated and intelligent individuals find it incredulous that those two buffoons were chosen for this highest of highest ability job, they were in fact ridiculed on RT by Margarita Simonyan (and dare I say were implied to be Gay, the ultimate insult here), they came away as a laughing stock, a comedy act.

Personally I can't reconcile those two jokers with the officers I have met and dealt with over the last ten+ years. I once discussed this with a former Colonel who worked for my old outfit and is/was generally regarded as being pretty straightforward in his dealings - his opinion is that the RF may well have been involved at some level but in no way would these two be let anywhere near such an op, no way as in impossible.

Too many loose ends here to draw any firm conclusions.
flash8 is offline  
Old 16th Jun 2020, 18:09
  #3209 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: West Wiltshire, UK
Age: 67
Posts: 378
Originally Posted by flash8 View Post
Here in the RF most educated and intelligent individuals find it incredulous that those two buffoons were chosen for this highest of highest ability job, they were in fact ridiculed on RT by Margarita Simonyan (and dare I say were implied to be Gay, the ultimate insult here), they came away as a laughing stock, a comedy act.

Personally I can't reconcile those two jokers with the officers I have met and dealt with over the last ten+ years. I once discussed this with a former Colonel who worked for my old outfit and is/was generally regarded as being pretty straightforward in his dealings - his opinion is that the RF may well have been involved at some level but in no way would these two be let anywhere near such an op, no way as in impossible.

Too many loose ends here to draw any firm conclusions.
I guess the only people who know for sure what went on with these two are unlikely to ever reveal it. If it was some sort of private vendetta, carried out without authorisation, then that raises serious questions about the security of the Russian CW stockpile (and it's a very poorly kept secret that the Russian state has held on to much of the materiel developed under the former Soviet Union programmes). A private vendetta is certainly something I think may have been possible, given that these two, and whoever they may have worked for/conspired with, probably had strong feelings about being betrayed by Sergei Skripal.

I just find it very hard to reconcile a private vendetta with the choice of weapon, as that has more in common with other state-sanctioned assassinations. It would have been far easier, and more likely to succeed, if these two had just shot Sergei Skripal. Not only would their identities most probably have never been discovered, but the international impact on Russia from doing this would have been negligible. It would also have been a heck of a lot easier to do, in terms of the logistics of the operation.

I think the only firm conclusions that can be drawn are that the agent used was A-234 and that the perpetrators were almost certainly the two GRU agents, Mishkin and Chepiga.
VP959 is online now  
Old 16th Jun 2020, 19:49
  #3210 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: England
Posts: 349
Originally Posted by flash8 View Post
Here in the RF most educated and intelligent individuals find it incredulous that those two buffoons were chosen for this highest of highest ability job, they were in fact ridiculed on RT by Margarita Simonyan (and dare I say were implied to be Gay, the ultimate insult here), they came away as a laughing stock, a comedy act.

Personally I can't reconcile those two jokers with the officers I have met and dealt with over the last ten+ years. I once discussed this with a former Colonel who worked for my old outfit and is/was generally regarded as being pretty straightforward in his dealings - his opinion is that the RF may well have been involved at some level but in no way would these two be let anywhere near such an op, no way as in impossible.
That's interesting and I take what you say at face value.

Given that they were identified as having briefly been i​​​n the UK for the express purpose of visiting Salisbury, and have agreed to that on TV, why do you think they were there?
Sallyann1234 is offline  
Old 16th Jun 2020, 21:14
  #3211 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Dreamland
Posts: 566
What I find difficult to understand is the use of such an agent in the first place. Assuming the aim of the event was to :
a. kill the Skripals
b. send a message
I am certain there are plenty of horrific methods of dispatching someone (and their family/friends/associates) seen as a traitor that would indeed be seen to meet those two objectives without endangering the civilian population.
Harley Quinn is offline  
Old 16th Jun 2020, 21:32
  #3212 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: West Wiltshire, UK
Age: 67
Posts: 378
I'm certain that the primary aim was to send a message. That's a long-standing Russian tactic, aimed at ensuring that anyone else that's considering being anything other than 100% loyal will suffer a horrible death. It's not the first inhuman Russian assassination attempt, and it won't be the last. The same total disregard for the health of innocent members of the public is a hallmark of Russian assassinations outside Russia. Litvinenko springs to mind as another obvious case where contamination was left scattered around with no care at all as to whether it might harm others.

I think we probably need to try to get inside the heads of fanatically loyal murderers. They clearly felt very strongly that traitors need to be seen to be punished, and most probably also viewed the UK, and it's population, as being the enemy state that had turned their former colleague against mother Russia. It might be reasonable to assume that such fanatical murderers may not care less about a bit of collateral damage, like a few innocent people made ill, or dying.

Russia may seem a reasonably civilised country on the surface, but there has always been a view there that extreme ruthlessness is acceptable, perhaps even admirable. Combined with the fierce national pride that many Russians have and it's easy to see how someone seen as disloyal may find themselves on the receiving end of some pretty nasty retribution. There used to be a joke that the only people more ruthless than the Russians were the Albanians. I'm not entirely sure that's true any more, as, at least here, the Albanian criminal element seem to have quietened down in recent years.
VP959 is online now  
Old 16th Jun 2020, 22:05
  #3213 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Age: 50
Posts: 1,597
Originally Posted by VP959 View Post
I'm certain that the primary aim was to send a message. That's a long-standing Russian tactic, aimed at ensuring that anyone else that's considering being anything other than 100% loyal will suffer a horrible death. It's not the first inhuman Russian assassination attempt, and it won't be the last. The same total disregard for the health of innocent members of the public is a hallmark of Russian assassinations outside Russia. Litvinenko springs to mind as another obvious case where contamination was left scattered around with no care at all as to whether it might harm others.
Do you have any other example of a Russia / USSR going after exchanged agents ?

From what I understand this is an absolute taboo. Unless Sergei somehow got active again it would be against all SOP. A private/unsanctioned vendetta maybe, an officially sanctioned op ? That would be a first (unless you come up with a counterexample).

On btw did we ever get an official answer as of how they got their visa ? The only (semi) explanation I have seen (from Bellingcat) is that the GRU actually infiltrated the UK via issuance system to the point of being able to issue visas at will. That would be quite the story...
atakacs is offline  
Old 17th Jun 2020, 00:33
  #3214 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Москва/Ташкент
Age: 50
Posts: 826
Originally Posted by Sallyann1234 View Post
That's interesting and I take what you say at face value.

Given that they were identified as having briefly been i​​​n the UK for the express purpose of visiting Salisbury, and have agreed to that on TV, why do you think they were there?
No idea but I find it hard to believe they were directly involved. Now in some sort of periphery role (whether knowingly or not) may well be the case.

I am not defending Russia here, VP is spot on in his analysis of the character traits if somewhat broad... but to be frank the pair come across as thick as pigshit and that alone sets off warning bells on the established narrative.

My guess is they were used, possibly over many months by unknown parties and given their gullibility it wasn't too difficult.
flash8 is offline  
Old 17th Jun 2020, 02:40
  #3215 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Age: 50
Posts: 1,597
I'd say M. Pablo Miller, an old pall of Mark Urban and coincidentally - again - Serguei's MI6 handler might have some answers. Too bad the prolific BBC "journalist" never thought of asking.

And even if the current whereabouts of the Skripals might need confidentiality I'd say that a non-scripted interview might also be of interest. I'm sure the ministry of truth could arrange that if they were so inclined...
atakacs is offline  
Old 17th Jun 2020, 06:45
  #3216 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: West Wiltshire, UK
Age: 67
Posts: 378
I think that the other thing we can be pretty certain of is that the new identities and life they have now been given isn't in New Zealand, as reported.

It's been widely reported that Sergei Skripal had been travelling and assisting the intelligence services of other countries since he'd been living here in the UK. Clearly he won't have had access to any classified information of value, but he will have years of experience as to how the GRU works, what methods are used, how they think, etc, all of which would be valuable to the countries he's believed to have been employed by in recent years. That, together with his previous activities, may, perhaps, have been enough to overcome any supposed taboo against seeking retribution.

As for Chepiga and Mishkin being a bit dim, I think there is enough evidence to suggest they were anything but dim. Just the expertise needed to devise a safe distribution method, to dispense the agent into it, to practice the techniques needed to transport, safely deploy and verify the efficacy of the deployment method needed a fair bit of expertise and intelligence. They must have had a fair bit of understanding of A-234, perhaps critically they had to know that it has a very low vapour pressure, so when deployed in relatively cold temperatures the risk from inhaling enough vapour to be harmful would have been negligible. They must also have practised and perfected the techniques they used, as it would be very far from easy to do what they did without risking contaminating themselves to a dangerous degree. In particular, safely handling the container after use, making it safe by containment and ensuring there was no significant external contamination wouldn't have been an easy thing to do, on the streets, at night, with only basic protective equipment.

Perhaps their scheme didn't work as they planned, or perhaps it did? Maybe they weren't too bothered about actually murdering Sergei Skripal, but just wanted to send a very loud message by making him extremely ill, and bringing his name to the world's press as a disloyal former Russian double agent, again. I've no doubt this action went down well within Russia, in the main, with many of the population seeing it as a sign that Russia was not to be messed with, and that Russians should never consider being traitors to their country. I've no doubt that, even if Putin didn't sanction this action, he has probably benefited from it, politically, within Russia.
VP959 is online now  
Old 17th Jun 2020, 07:23
  #3217 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Age: 50
Posts: 1,597
Originally Posted by VP959 View Post
That, together with his previous activities, may, perhaps, have been enough to overcome any supposed taboo against seeking retribution.
My question stands: do you have any other example of a Russia / USSR going after exchangedagents ?

As for Chepiga and Mishkin being a bit dim, I think there is enough evidence to suggest they were anything but dim.
Quite frankly their OPSEC was beyond laughable - absolute bozos (assuming obviously we accept the supposed narrative...). If you see competent professionals here then I think you should really reconsider your standards.
atakacs is offline  
Old 17th Jun 2020, 07:59
  #3218 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: West Wiltshire, UK
Age: 67
Posts: 378
Originally Posted by atakacs View Post
My question stands: do you have any other example of a Russia / USSR going after exchangedagents ?
No, but equally I'm not aware of any exchanged agents who have lived openly in the UK and travelled far and wide helping the intelligence services of other countries. It's also the case that he was condemned as a traitor by President Putin AFTER he had been pardoned and released earlier by President Medvedev. Something seems to have changed between President Medvedev granting him a pardon, which presumably made him out of bounds for retribution, and President Putin effectively rescinding that, something that may have, in the eyes of some, put him back on a hit list. I'm also not aware of any other exchanged agent that has subsequently been condemned again as a traitor by a Russian president.


Originally Posted by atakacs View Post
Quite frankly their OPSEC was beyond laughable - absolute bozos (assuming obviously we accept the supposed narrative...). If you see competent professionals here then I think you should really reconsider your standards.
I agree, but that seems to apply equally to other operations these two have been involved with. It didn't take long to pin down many apparent facts about their life stories. It seems to me that these two may have assumed that if they travelled using public transport they might be reasonably free from surveillance. It is clear that the route they took from Salisbury station to Christie Miller road was chosen to avoid all the CCTV in the city. They were unlucky, in that they may have missed the private CCTV cameras outside the garage on the A36 they walked past. An easy error, as, unlike all the city centre CCTV installations, those are not at all easy to spot when walking past, as the two cameras are hidden right under the garage canopy and appear to only be looking at the fuel pumps. The fact that the outer of the two cameras also had a view of the pavement some distance away wouldn't have been at all obvious to anyone doing a recce of the area.

Their biggest error seems to have been to come into the UK, albeit using false identities, as Russian nationals. That seems to be a pretty stupid thing to do, given that the agent that they used is a pretty much uniquely Russian (or rather former Soviet Union) product. Suspicion immediately fell on all Russians that may have been in the UK at the time, and as we don't get large numbers of Russians coming here in March they made themselves stand out as possible perpetrators. This seems to have been far and away the biggest mistake they made, and seems at odds with the technical expertise they must have had that enabled them to prosecute this attack without harm to themselves.

My view of the TV interview they gave was that the two of them were deliberately taking the piss. They chose to make fun of the whole thing by saying they'd come to see the cathedral. They knew they were untouchable, so why not make out that they are just two innocent tourists, even if they do know that most people won't believe that for a minute.
VP959 is online now  
Old 17th Jun 2020, 09:19
  #3219 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: England
Posts: 349
The Skripal operation was planned and executed well. There was a risk that the two men might be identified, but in essence it did not matter. They would be safely back at home and the bland denials could start. The British security services would have been tested and noted for future planning.

There was a risk that third parties might be hurt or killed, but that may be considered a bonus. Would a government again offer shelter to enemy traitors if this risks the death of innocent citizens and the possible angry response of voters?

One can almost have sympathy for those whose task is to deny or cast doubt upon what happened, when the facts are so clear.
Sallyann1234 is offline  
Old 17th Jun 2020, 10:11
  #3220 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Age: 50
Posts: 1,597
One can almost have sympathy for those whose task is to deny or cast doubt upon what happened, when the facts are so clear.
Similarly one can have sympathy for gullible citizens that have given up any pretence of critical thinking.
atakacs is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.