M.N.: Is it not obvious that Skripal used the same type of comminications in Salisbury, and he staged them too, just changed the sides? – “The FSB caught him passing his intelligence to the infamous MI6 James Bond-style ‘spy rock’ – a fake stone packed with receiving equipment – in a Moscow park.” | I came to believe that there is the great degree of probability that Sergey Skripal’s arrest and conviction were indeed staged, to provide him with an excellent legend for his penetration and influence activities in the West.

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10.17.18

M.N.: I came to believe that there is the great degree of probability that Sergey Skripal’s arrest and conviction were indeed staged, to provide him with an excellent legend for his penetration and influence activities in the West. All the materials that I saw so far are based on his own recollections and there are no independent eyewitnesses, reliable or not, to confirm these accounts. 

The personality or rather ‘the Persona” picture that emerges of Sergei Skripal is the one of the classical Russian Jewish “AFERIST“, “THE CROOK“, the Jungian Trickster-Joker Archetype (the same like Trump’s). He is the true spiritual grandson of Admiral Canaris, minus the Grandy’s intellect. 

“The irony is that, as Urban tells it, Skripal was “an unashamed Russian nationalist”, even as he lived out his twilight years in an MI6-purchased semi. He spent much of the day watching Perviy Kanal – Russia’s foremost state propaganda channel – and approved of the country’s land-grab in Crimea.”

Daughter Yulia with Sergei having a meal in a restaurant in Britain 

Daughter Yulia with Sergei having a meal in a restaurant in Britain (2016?)

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Skripal’s “Arrest”

M.N.: These “arrestors”, who look very much like the actors, are very careful not to cause him pain, while he looks like he tries to convey the sensations of depression and suffering, but not the real feelings, it seems. The facial muscles are relatively relaxed, and not contracted or tense in emotional, affective grimaces.

The whole scene of his arrest, with the LV bag (“a spy with LV bag”) looks quite suspicious. 

I think all this was staged to provide Skripal with the good “legend” for the deep penetration operation in the “Far West”, for which he, Poteyev, and the others in the “Far West” Group were specifically trained. 

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Skripal (pictured right) with his mother (pictured centre) and father (pictured left) in Russia

Skripal (pictured right) with his mother (pictured centre) and father (pictured left) in Russia

Sergei with mother Yelena at a family gathering in 2004, months before he was arrested

Sergei with mother Yelena at a family gathering in 2004, months before he was arrested

M.N.: His father looks more Ukranian (-Jewish), and his mother more Jewish (-Ukranian). 

“On July 4, the phone rang at SVR headquarters. On the line was Leon Panetta, director of the CIA in Washington, wanting to speak to his opposite number, SVR boss Mikhail Fradkov.

 He’d got their people, Panetta informed Fradkov. He proposed an exchange. The Russian agreed. It was game on for a spy swap.

The tricky question for the CIA, though, was if they sent the Russian illegals back, who did they want in return?

Two days after Panetta’s call to Fradkov, a guard went into Skripal’s accommodation block in camp IK5. ‘Get all your stuff ready and be at the headquarters block in ten minutes,’ he ordered.

‘What’s happening?’ Skripal asked. ‘Maybe you’re going to another camp,’ the guard suggested. Skripal moved quickly, packing things away and distributing his food, clothes and goodies to his paratrooper friends — his prison ‘family’, as he called them.”

M.N.: Are there any witnesses who were in the prison or the camp with Skripal? 

“The FSB caught him passing his intelligence to the infamous MI6 James Bond-style ‘spy rock’ – a fake stone packed with receiving equipment – in a Moscow park.

“Russian secret services exposed the rock in 2006, revealing how agents walked past it transmitting their data to the rock via a hidden hand held device.

One official said after his conviction: ‘His activities caused a significant blow to Russia’s external security.’

Russian loathing for Skripal is highlighted by claims from Russian secret services historian Nikolai Luzan that the double was responsible for disclosing to MI6 the names of around 300 GRU staff members and other ‘agents’ including those working abroad.

Some of these military intelligence assets were ‘secretly arrested’ and others ‘vanished’, said Luzan.

Luzan referred to him Skripal in a 2014 interview as ‘this bastard – I’m not scared to use this word’.

‘Just imagine what muck this man did to other people’ – due to his treachery.

There has been no official confirmation of the 300 figure from the GRU.”

M.N.: Is it not obvious that Skripal used the same type of comminications in Salisbury, and he staged them too, just changed the sides? And at the  end of this phase of his operation, he exposed and “sold” his “communicators”: “Boshirov, Petrov, and Fedotov”. 

Michael Novakhov

10.16.18

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Salisbury poison victim Sergei Skripal reveals how he survived Russia’s notorious prison camp
 

mikenova shared this story from News | Mail Online.

Snatched, hooded and handcuffed by heavies from the Russian security service, Sergei Skripal was bundled into a van and driven to Moscow’s dreaded Lefortovo Prison. Once booked in there, you entered a netherworld.

Since Tsarist days, its most noted prisoners had always been those accused of dissent, espionage and treason. Under Stalin, its cell blocks were a key part in the industrial process of torture, confession and liquidation.

In 1996, the new thought police, the FSB, had taken charge of the prison.

After his arrest late in 2004, Skripal — a retired colonel with a distinguished army record and a high-flying officer in the GRU, the military intelligence arm of the Russian military — was reduced to the status of a common prisoner, sharing a cell with two others.

Salisbury poison victim Sergei Skripal was a double agent and vital MI6 asset
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Salisbury poison victim Sergei Skripal was a double agent and vital MI6 asset

One of them, he told me when I interviewed him last year, was ‘a real Moscow bandit, who’d killed three policemen and was charged with terrorism rather than a simple crime’. His body was tattooed with Nazi themes.

The other was smaller and quieter, and Skripal instantly clocked him as an informer. Burly Skripal gave him a good beating, pumping his paratrooper-trained fists into his cowering cellmate, and the man was removed.

The routines of Lefortovo came to dominate every hour of Skripal’s life during the crushing, dark weeks of his first winter there. The prison day ran from 6am to the 10pm ‘lights out’.

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But conditions were surprisingly reasonable for a prisoner on remand awaiting trial. There were three meals and a packet of cigarettes a day. Bed sheets were changed every week and he was even allowed visitors.

Once a month, his wife Liudmila arrived with home-cooked meals. She also managed to get him a TV and a small fridge.

But these comforts apart, life was hard with the endless interrogations he faced. Twice a day, he was led from his cell for four-hour sessions in a screened-off room — always the same mind-numbing questions about his identity, his service, his routines, his contacts with foreign intelligence services.

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Double agent Sergei Skripal arrested in Russia in video from 2004

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Skripal reveals in new book his arrest late in 2004 (pictured) and how he was reduced to the status of a common prisoner, sharing a cell with two others
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Skripal reveals in new book his arrest late in 2004 (pictured) and how he was reduced to the status of a common prisoner, sharing a cell with two others

He counted 17 different interrogators during the almost two years he was in Lefortovo, all trying to get him to confess in return for a lighter sentence. Other prisoners were beaten but Skripal wasn’t.

‘They never used physical force against me,’ he told me. They knew that with his tough military training he could take pain. However, there was always the fear that they might just do away with him.

He couldn’t be executed as the death penalty had been shelved in Russia, including for high treason and espionage.

But that didn’t mean he couldn’t just disappear — just as he knew another GRU agent working for a Western intelligence agency had. He later turned up dead, strangled, with his fingers hacked off.

In front of his interrogators, Skripal tried to remain calm and composed. From their questioning, he wondered which of those trips he’d made to Malta, Italy and Spain, where he had secretly been in contact with British agents, had been logged. Had he been under surveillance for much longer than he had realised?

But he stuck doggedly to his explanations. The writing in invisible ink they’d found in his flat? As an intelligence officer, he needed it to show his own agents how to communicate.

Yes, there were large cheques paid into his bank account, but after leaving the GRU he’d become a businessman.

he survived Russia's notorious prison camp and Stalin's torture cells before the dramatic 'spy swap' which finally saw him free
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he survived Russia’s notorious prison camp and Stalin’s torture cells before the dramatic ‘spy swap’ which finally saw him free

And as for his last couple of trips abroad, well, if they’d actually spotted him talking to British spooks, why not confront him with the evidence?

It became clear that they couldn’t tie him to anyone specific in MI6 and nor could they prove that he’d passed any intelligence to the British.

Skripal came to the conclusion that someone must have betrayed him to the FSB, but that the rat had to be protected and could not give evidence against him in court.

As the questioning went on, he told himself that if he just hung in there, refusing to give an inch, they’d have to let him go; that everything would turn out OK.

His hopes were in vain. In October 2006, a closed military court heard the case against him and he was sentenced to 13 years in a labour camp.

In Russia, his trial made headlines, with pictures of him wearing a tracksuit and caged in the dock as his sentence was passed, followed by much blackening of his name, angling in on the moral corruption, greed and egocentricity of those who spied for the West.

British Police Community Support Officers stand on duty outside Skripal's home in Salisbury
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British Police Community Support Officers stand on duty outside Skripal’s home in Salisbury

It was claimed that Skripal had been paid a total of $100,000 (£70,000) by MI6 for his spying activities, though my calculations suggest the figure was more like $70,000 (£54,000).

Russian news reporting also tried to damage MI6’s faith in him by suggesting he had made a full written confession and had tried to plea-bargain a reduction in his sentence.

Skripal denied this. He told me he’d been offered a sentence of five to six years if he confessed — but he refused. Either way, the outcome was the same. He was now a convicted criminal and on his way to the Russian Gulag.

In Russia, each penal colony has its number and its purpose. IK5 in the remote forests of Mordovia, 500 miles east of Moscow, was ‘a camp for people with epaulettes’, as Skripal put it wryly. Many of its 1,200 convicts were policemen, army officers, and even the odd disgraced FSB type.

As a new zek (prisoner), for self-preservation Skripal needed to find allies quickly and he gravitated towards a group of convicts who, like him, had served in the airborne forces.

‘They formed my first circle of protection in the camp,’ he said.

Sergei Skrial and his daughter Yulia posing in a restaurant. They were poisoned with the nerve agent novichok
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Sergei Skrial and his daughter Yulia posing in a restaurant. They were poisoned with the nerve agent novichok

Anyone looking for a prisoner to put the squeeze on would be mad to pick on a guy within a gang of paratroopers. And pretty soon, Skripal’s military experience, age, physical presence and rank of colonel made him leader of the pack.

But conditions in IK5 could break even the strongest inmate. In winter, there is snow on the ground for four to five months, while temperatures can drop to below minus 30c.

Many prisoners succumb to despair — but Skripal kept himself busy, sewing army and prison uniforms in the workshop, intent on earning himself enough money to make life more bearable.

Skripal when he was younger- he was a paratrooper in Russia’s elite airborne corps graduated to reconnaissance units
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Skripal when he was younger- he was a paratrooper in Russia’s elite airborne corps graduated to reconnaissance units

His Moscow bank accounts had been emptied by the FSB (though the money MI6 had been paying him was safely secreted abroad), but Liudmila sold some family possessions to give him more spending power to bribe the guards. Skripal even managed to get new showers and toilets installed in his block.

He was also determined to keep his edge, physically and mentally, pushing weights for hours, skipping and shadow-boxing. Camp food was rubbish, but ever-loyal Liudmila sent a parcel of ingredients every month that he could cook on a stove in his hut.

In Moscow, life was far from easy for the family he’d left behind. Friends deserted them and neighbours made nasty comments about his treachery. This climate of disapproval was hard for Liudmila to bear — especially when she got cancer and had to face treatment without her husband by her side.

The rest of the family felt the shame of his downfall. His son Sasha sank into despair and began drinking heavily, while daughter Yulia had to deal with fellow students’ snide comments at Moscow University for the Humanities.

At one point, fed up with the jibes, she even tried to change her surname. Yet she kept going by simply refusing to talk about her father’s conviction.

Meanwhile, in IK5, with his appeal against conviction and sentence rejected by the court, time dragged as Skripal saw the years of imprisonment stretching ahead. But he told himself he would be eligible for parole after eight years and his dream of leaving Russia and making a new life abroad kept him going.

The chances of it happening quickly, though, seemed very remote.

Skripal (pictured right) with his mother (pictured centre) and father (pictured left) in Russia
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Skripal (pictured right) with his mother (pictured centre) and father (pictured left) in Russia

Elsewhere, however, wheels were turning in the espionage world. In New York, a glamorous red-headed Russian agent, Anna Chapman (she had kept the surname of a Briton she’d married but was estranged from), was settling down at a table in an internet cafe to send her report back to Moscow via a laptop belonging to Russian intelligence operatives who were sitting nearby.

But there were problems with the transfer and she was left talking to the man she assumed was her handler. In reality he was an undercover FBI agent, and he gave her a fake passport that could later be used as evidence against her.

She had stumbled into a trap.

After one of the longest and most elaborate counter-intelligence operations ever mounted, the FBI was about to pounce on a whole group of deep-cover sleeper spies, known as ‘illegals’, who had taken years to embed themselves in American society.

Skripal married his home-town sweetheart Liudmila who would prove the firm foundation of his adult life
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Skripal married his home-town sweetheart Liudmila who would prove the firm foundation of his adult life

Tasked to infiltrate a country’s ‘ruling circles’, they gravitated towards academia, think tanks and the financial world, hoping to ensnare top civil servants, CIA people and bankers.

They were supported by agents like Chapman, who delivered money and gave assistance. (She herself was not an illegal but a ‘Noc’, the term American intelligence types use for those operating under Non-Official Cover, living under her real name).

Four couples were known to be operating in New York, Boston, and Washington DC after being identified to the FBI by a mole in Russian intelligence. Now the moment had come to reel them in.

Sergei with daughter Yulia pictured eating a meal together in Britain 
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Sergei with daughter Yulia pictured eating a meal together in Britain

In a coordinated round-up in June 2010, teams of FBI agents poured into the illegals’ homes.

As news of the raids reached Moscow, there was panic at the Russian foreign intelligence service, the SVR. Their complete American spy ring was in the bag, and they had to assume the entire international network had been compromised. They had no idea what to do about it.

On July 4, the phone rang at SVR headquarters. On the line was Leon Panetta, director of the CIA in Washington, wanting to speak to his opposite number, SVR boss Mikhail Fradkov.

He’d got their people, Panetta informed Fradkov. He proposed an exchange. The Russian agreed. It was game on for a spy swap.

The tricky question for the CIA, though, was if they sent the Russian illegals back, who did they want in return?

Two days after Panetta’s call to Fradkov, a guard went into Skripal’s accommodation block in camp IK5. ‘Get all your stuff ready and be at the headquarters block in ten minutes,’ he ordered.

‘What’s happening?’ Skripal asked. ‘Maybe you’re going to another camp,’ the guard suggested. Skripal moved quickly, packing things away and distributing his food, clothes and goodies to his paratrooper friends — his prison ‘family’, as he called them.

Sergei Skripal holding a pint at a pub in England. He has now apparently recovered from the poisoning and is in hiding
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Sergei Skripal holding a pint at a pub in England. He has now apparently recovered from the poisoning and is in hiding

At the camp office, he was told, without explanation, that he was going to Moscow and was bundled into a black FSB car.

They drove for more than six hours without anyone saying a word to him. When he finally saw road signs for Moscow, his spirits climbed: it was definitely not another camp he was going to.

A little later they pulled up at Lefortovo Prison, where he settled down, he told me, for ‘a nice meal, and a sleep’.

While he slumbered, officials in Washington were putting the finishing touches to their exchange deal. They had easily settled on two men to bring home — both of them agents languishing in Russian jails. But that was it.

There weren’t any more. So they asked the British if they had people they wanted released? Agent Forthwith, alias Sergei Skripal, was MI6’s obvious choice.

The next morning, Skripal was taken to an upstairs office at the prison where Daniel Hoffman, the formidable head of the CIA’s Moscow Station, broke the sweet news to Skripal that an exchange had been arranged.

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Skripal was on his way out of Russia if he wanted to. It was his choice

Skripal had seen a newspaper report about the illegals being arrested in the U.S. and understood the background to the swap, but he still wanted more details on how it was going to work.

Hoffman told him the first thing he had to do was sign a document requesting a pardon for his crimes from the Russian President.

Skripal baulked at this. Signing amounted to an admission of guilt. Even after nearly six years in jail, he was determined not to give those FSB bastards the satisfaction. That stubborn streak of his kicked in. It had helped get him through his time in the gulag, but was now threatening his release.

Hoffman told him the Russians were insisting on this because their detained officers in the U.S. were having to acknowledge that they were foreign agents operating illegally in the U.S.

Skripal with daughter Yulia and family posing outside their home 
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Skripal with daughter Yulia and family posing outside their home

The FSB wanted a reciprocal admission from Skripal. And if they didn’t get it, there was a danger the whole deal might miscarry.

First gently, then in a more direct tone, Hoffman explained to Skripal that these conditions were non-negotiable. Skripal asked for time to think it over, but eventually put pen to paper.

After one last night in a cell in the Lefortovo, he was taken down to the courtyard and put into a van with the three others who were being swapped.

Sergei with mother Yelena at a family gathering in 2004, months before he was arrested
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Sergei with mother Yelena at a family gathering in 2004, months before he was arrested

They were then driven to the airport where a Russian government Tupolev airliner was running through its pre-flight checks. They took their seats, and there was palpable tension when, just as the doors were closing, Hoffman hurried aboard and went to the cabin’s forward section.

For Skripal and the others, having spent years in the Russian prison system, they were only too used to the raising and dashing of hopes. Was their release going to fall apart at the last minute?

But slowly the jet taxied, and then, with a roar of its engines, took to the sky. They were free: they really were.

Hoffman came back and explained that they were en route to Vienna where the exchange would take place. From there, two of them would go to American, and two to the UK.

Daughter Yulia with Sergei having a meal in a restaurant in Britain 
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Daughter Yulia with Sergei having a meal in a restaurant in Britain

Sitting there in his dark-grey prison clothes, Sergei Skripal worried about what was going to happen to his family. He knew that in previous defections, the KGB had kept families apart for years.

‘What about my wife? When will she be able to join me?’ he asked. ‘Don’t worry,’ Hoffman answered. ‘It’s all been agreed with the Russian authorities.’

After touching down in Austria, the four Russian prisoners were taken by bus across to a Boeing. The Russian illegals had arrived from the U.S. on the same plane and were waiting in a private terminal for their own flight home. Skripal never actually saw them.

On board the American plane in Vienna, he and the others opened bags they had been given to find a tracksuit, underwear, toiletries and a bottle of Scotch each. They lifted their glasses and toasted freedom.

The Boeing landed at Brize Norton RAF base in Oxfordshire, where Skripal and one other Russian disembarked before the plane carried on to the U.S.

Sergei (left) posing on a bench with his cousin Natalia (centre) and brother Valery (right) who served as a paratrooper
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Sergei (left) posing on a bench with his cousin Natalia (centre) and brother Valery (right) who served as a paratrooper

A helicopter flew the two of them low over the rolling English countryside to Fort Monkton, a specialist MI6 training camp on the Solent, to begin weeks of debriefing. First, though, they were ushered into a room which Skripal remembered was ‘full of very good clothes and shoes.

‘We were told to take what we wanted. It was all for us.’

Their minders quickly spruced them up and took photos for their new passports — important psychologically in under-lining their new identity.

And then they asked Skripal where he wanted to live. Did he want to stay in England or did he want to go to Spain? They knew he’d sometimes talked about a future in the Spanish sun.

But no, on reflection, he would prefer to remain in Britain, he told them, and they said they would get people looking for possible homes.

Russia, meanwhile, was celebrating the return of the ‘illegals’ from America, feting them and flaunting them as master spies. Chapman, in particular, would go on to be something of a celebrity, hosting her own TV show.

As he praised them, Putin couldn’t resist putting the boot into the defectors who’d gone the other way in the spy swap.

‘Traitors always come to no good,’ he declared.

A reporter egged him on, asking whether those traitors now living abroad would be punished. Putin replied obliquely but ominously: ‘Intelligence agencies have their own code, and all their staff follow it.’

For Skripal, the debriefing at the Fort went well but was tinged with anxiety — until he had spoken to his wife Liudmila and to his mother, Yelena.

Sergei's daughter Yulia (pictured left) with his late son Alexander (pictured right) died in St Petersburg in 2017 
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Sergei’s daughter Yulia (pictured left) with his late son Alexander (pictured right) died in St Petersburg in 2017

‘After I spoke to them, I became calmer,’ he told me.

The deal with the Russians meant that Liudmila could come over to Britain to join him. So, too, could his mother — but she was in her 80s and didn’t want to uproot herself.

On the phone, he tried to comfort her with some hopeful words. Maybe one day he would be allowed back to Moscow and they would be re-united.

‘Don’t even think about coming back to Russia,’ his mother told him firmly. ‘You would never be safe here.’

The women in Sergei’s life had always been so central to him, anchoring him through all the ups and downs of his life. Now his ageing mother would be beyond his reach.

Yulia, his daughter, stepped into the breach. She’d matured into a confident young woman who, with her gift for languages, had quickly got a job with Nike in Moscow. Now she flew to Britain to go house-hunting on behalf of her parents.

She did not take long to decide. The place she had fallen for was the quiet and unassuming cathedral city of Salisbury. Surely ,they would be safe here.

The house in Salisbury bought for Sergei Skripal and his wife Luidmila after his defection to Britain cost £260,000. He had a little cash squirrelled away in Spain and the UK government would also be paying him money from time to time, but he couldn’t be considered rich.

On my first visit to his home, I could see it was not affluent. The sitting room was well worn, and things were tidy, as you might expect from an old military man, but not fastidiously so.

He showed me items that had been brought from his old flat in Moscow, and with particular pride he picked up the resin model of an English country cottage that had been given to him 21 years earlier in Madrid by MI6 agent Richard Bagnall, the man who recruited him.

It was just a typical souvenir, but it obviously had great meaning for him — so much so that he had taken it from Spain back to Moscow, and made sure that it was brought over to his new place in Salisbury.

Sergei Skripal (left) with his uncle Yury Fyodorovich, his father Victor Fyodorovich, brother Valery, aunt Alla, and mother Yelena Yakovlevna who holds baby Mikhail, and cousin Natalia
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Sergei Skripal (left) with his uncle Yury Fyodorovich, his father Victor Fyodorovich, brother Valery, aunt Alla, and mother Yelena Yakovlevna who holds baby Mikhail, and cousin Natalia

The Skripals seem to have been happy in the months after Liudmila joined him in Salisbury, late in 2010, but her health was failing. She’d developed uterine cancer while her husband was in the gulag and now it had re-emerged and spread. She died, aged 59, in 2012.

His wife’s death was a hammer blow to Sergei. ‘She was a formidable woman,’ notes a friend. ‘He simultaneously admired, adored and feared her.’

With Liudmila gone, his focus shifted to his children. Yulia spent a good deal of time in England and had no difficulty finding employment — but she saw her future in Russia, and by 2014 was looking for a job there.

Yulia would continue visiting her dad, but she wanted to get on with her own life.

With his son, matters were more complicated. Sasha was 43 by now, with a failed marriage and a good deal of alcohol abuse already behind him.

Skripal told me: ‘If he drinks again it will kill him, but I know he drinks secretly . . . he can’t fool his father.’

Yet there was cause for hope. Sasha had a new girlfriend in Russia and in July 2017 flew back to Moscow. Yulia picked him up at the airport but he was apparently already drunk. He died of liver failure in hospital shortly after.

When I rang Sergei to offer my condolences, he said Sasha’s decision to hit the bottle again ‘was a kind of suicide’.

He was also hit hard when Yelena, his mother, broke her hip, leaving her increasingly frail as she entered her 90s.

Sergei was so deeply perturbed at not being able to care for his mother in person that his Whitehall minders offered to bring her to the UK and buy him a bigger house so that they could live together.

He clearly found this separation from family a great sorrow but he did not see an alternative. When I asked him whether he thought he might ever return to Russia, he said he was quite sure that he wouldn’t.

He quoted his mother telling him he should never come back because it would not be safe.

Sergei Skripal (centre) with family including his mother and father (pictured left)
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Sergei Skripal (centre) with family including his mother and father (pictured left)

By the time I met him, Skripal was carrying a few more pounds than when he’d arrived in Britain and his hair had thinned, but it would have been a great mistake to underestimate his mental or, indeed, physical toughness.

Life may have lobbed him some gross misfortunes but he still intended to live every day of it to the full.

The people closest to him were probably what he called his ‘Team’ — the officers from MI5 and MI6 who looked after his welfare. He spoke about them with affection and had a special mobile phone that went directly to their duty officer.

He had made them aware of my visit, which was no more than common sense, given that allowing someone alone into his home carried an element of risk.

Naturally, he was aware that he had to protect his own security, but it wasn’t an obsession.

After all, he had received a presidential pardon, as well as serving a good deal of his sentence. So there was every reason to believe that as long as he didn’t make political statements or give lots of interviews, life would continue in its sedate, if sometimes mournful, fashion.

To me, he appeared to be a homebody and a creature of habit. He would cook for himself, enjoy a quiet drink. In his home, I saw signs of someone who had grown used to killing time — a stack of jigsaw puzzles for grown-ups, an Airfix scale model of HMS Victory that he had put together, including painstakingly rigging the masts with cotton.

Sometime he would travel up to London for the day, and occasionally MI6 made use of his services. As far as I could establish, this work involved talking to some military audiences, possibly to new trainees and to a few friendly intelligence services.

Yulia Skripal appears for first time since assassination attack

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In this sense, he acted as a consultant about how the GRU might approach a problem or gave insights into its historical operations.

Did he have relationships with foreign intelligence agencies, as was claimed in the aftermath of the attempt on his life?

Piecing Skripal’s travels together, I found that he went to the U.S. in 2011 and the Czech Republic in 2012, and there were a couple of visits to Estonia.

In the summer of 2017, our interviews were interrupted by a week-long trip he made to Switzerland to talk to their federal intelligence services.

I have heard it said also that he’d been talking to the Ukrainian security service, but I find this idea ironic, given how disdainful he was to me about the Ukrainians. He told me he thought they were sheep who needed Russia for leadership.

These rumours are, I’ve been told, untrue. Nonetheless, could there be something here that would have provided a trigger for an assassination plot?

Some of his travels, particularly to places that were formerly in the Soviet bloc, might be seen as re-entering the game, particularly if the person reporting it to Moscow exaggerated Skripal’s role.

Had I been able to question him after the poisoning, queries about these foreign trips would have been near the top of my list. But despite many attempts by me to restart our conversations, he chose not speak to me after he and Yulia were struck down with Novichok.

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Story image for Were Skripal arrest and conviction staged? from Washington Post

This is how Putin bullies and intimidates his enemies

Washington PostOct 6, 2018
Mr. Skripal was arrested by Russia in 2004, convicted of treason, … The two men appeared in a stagedinterview broadcast by Russia’s RT …
The Week In Russia: Spies, ‘Scumbags,’ And Senior Citizens
In-DepthRadioFreeEurope/RadioLibertyOct 5, 2018

Story image for Were Skripal arrest and conviction staged? from ABC News

ABC News

EDITORIAL: Kremlin’s hired guns require our vigilance

Tuscaloosa NewsOct 9, 2018
Skripal was arrested by Russia in 2004, convicted of treason, … The two men appeared in a stagedinterview broadcast by Russia’s RT …

Other voices: The Kremlin’s hired guns

TwinCities.com-Pioneer PressOct 9, 2018
Skripal was arrested by Russia in 2004, convicted of treason, … The two men appeared in a stagedinterview broadcast by Russia’s RT …

Story image for Were Skripal arrest and conviction staged? from Voice of America

Third Russian Possibly Involved in Salisbury Poisoning

Voice of AmericaSep 28, 2018
Fake news’ … Skripal was a double agent for British intelligence in the 1990s. In December 2004, he was arrested by Russian authorities, tried, convicted of high treason and sentenced to 13 years in prison. He was included …

Story image for Were Skripal arrest and conviction staged? from The Independent

The Independent

The Kremlin’s hired guns: We can believe either US, Dutch and British …

The Keene SentinelOct 10, 2018
Skripal was arrested by Russia in 2004, convicted of treason, … The two men appeared in a stagedinterview broadcast by Russia’s RT …

Story image for Were Skripal arrest and conviction staged? from The National

Ukraine minister says Sergei Skripal suspect helped ex-leader flee in …

The NationalOct 3, 2018
Mr Skripal was convicted in Russia of spying for the British and was … He is believed to have worked in Moscow since 2009, where he was given the fake … before European arrest warrants and Interpol red notices had been …

Story image for Were Skripal arrest and conviction staged? from Daily Mail

‘My circle of protection in the Gulag’: Salisbury poison victim Sergei …

Daily MailSep 30, 2018
After his arrest late in 2004, Skripal — a retired colonel with a …. He was now a convicted criminal and on his way to the Russian Gulag. … In reality he was an undercover FBI agent, and he gave her a fakepassport that could …

Story image for Were Skripal arrest and conviction staged? from RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

The Week In Russia: A Shockingly Normal Election, Novichok News …

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLibertySep 28, 2018
Aleksei Navalny walked out of jail after 30 days – and walked back in hours … Here are some of the key developments in Russia over the past …. convictions in cases he and supporters contend were fabricated to … of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in March.
How Sergei Skripal narrowly avoided execution
 

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Retired Russian colonel Sergei Skripal was brought to Britain in a spy-swap after he was jailed in Russia for spying for MI6
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The man who is thought to have been poisoned with an unknown substance in Salisbury is retired Russian military intelligence colonel Sergei Skripal. He was brought to Britain in a spy-swap after he was jailed in Russia for spying for MI6

The man fighting for his life in a Wiltshire hospital is a former Russian colonel who was dramatically exposed as having spied for the British in one of the biggest East-West scandals since the end of the Cold War.

Sergei Skripal rose to rank of colonel in the Russian military before becoming a top intelligence officer in the chaotic days after the fall of communism.

But his reputation came crashing down in 2004 when he was accused of passing on the identities of Russian secret agents in Europe to MI6.

By this time he had retired from the military but was said to have used his old contacts to spy for the West.

He was jailed for 13 years in 2006 and was only released in the high-profile spy-swap which involved glamourous Russian agent Anna Chapman, who had been caught spying in the US.

After being debriefed by British security services, he was given a new life living in a £340,000 house in Wiltshire.

At the time of his arrest he was mocked as ‘the spy with the Louis Vuitton bag’ after grainy pictures showed him with an expensive looking bag at an airport en route on one meeting with his handlers.

Mr Skripal was accused of spying for Britain and sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2006
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Colonel Skripal was accused of spying for Britain and sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2006

Mr Skripal is believed to have been living at this address in Salisbury since he moved to the UK
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Sergei Skripal is believed to have been living at this address on Christie Miller Road in Salisbury since he moved to the UK

After his release Col Skripal was given refuge in the UK following his exchange in the historic spy swap involving femme fatale Anna Chapman (pictured)
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After his release Col Skripal was given refuge in the UK following his exchange in the historic spy swap involving femme fatale Anna Chapman (pictured)

The Russian security service (FSB) alleged that Col Skripal began to sell information in 1990’s right up until 1999 – when he left the special services. They say he was paid around $100,000 for his services into his secret account in Spain.

Col Skripal was turned by British special service until when he was detained for giving the UK top secret information.

The former intelligence officer, now believed to be 66, was convicted of ‘high treason in the form of espionage’ for his crimes.

Col Skripal pleaded guilty at his trial and co-operated with investigators, reports said at the time.

He was stripped of his rank of colonel and his state medals and ordered to spend his prison term in a high-security penal camp.

Archive footage shows former Russian spy being arrested

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He was jailed for passing on the identities of Russian secret agents in Europe to MI6
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He was jailed for passing on the identities of Russian secret agents in Europe to MI6

He was sentenced in 2006 and was later pardoned in 2010 when he was one of four prisoners Moscow swapped for spies in the US.

He was released together with the three other individuals serving time in Russian prisons in exchange for ten Russian spies arrested by the FBI.

A year after his release he is believed to have bought a house in Sailsbury, Wiltshire.

In Moscow at the time of his arrest he was mocked as 'the spy with the Louis Vuitton bag' after grainy pictures showed him at an airport on route on one meeting with his handlers
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In Moscow at the time of his arrest he was mocked as ‘the spy with the Louis Vuitton bag’ after grainy pictures showed him at an airport on route on one meeting with his handlers

Following his release Col Skripal underwent a debriefing in London following his exchange in the historic spy swap involving femme fatale Anna Chapman
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Following his release Col Skripal underwent a debriefing in London following his exchange in the historic spy swap involving femme fatale Anna Chapman

Ms Chapman was arrested at a New York police department precinct when she turned in a fake passport an undercover FBI agent had given to her.

As the daughter of a Russian diplomat, she became the most recognisable of the ten agents.

Nicknamed ‘the spy with the Louis Vuitton bag’, Skripal exposed a huge network of Russian military spies working across Europe taking extraordinary risks to pass secrets to MI6.

The Russian security service (FSB) allege that Col Skripal began to sell information in 1990's right up until 1999 - when he left the special services. This image shows him being arrested 
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The Russian security service (FSB) allege that Col Skripal began to sell information in 1990’s right up until 1999 – when he left the special services. This image shows him being arrested

The FSB caught him passing his intelligence to the infamous MI6 James Bond-style ‘spy rock’ – a fake stone packed with receiving equipment – in a Moscow park.

Russian secret services exposed the rock in 2006, revealing how agents walked past it transmitting their data to the rock via a hidden hand held device.

One official said after his conviction: ‘His activities caused a significant blow to Russia’s external security.’

Russian loathing for Skripal is highlighted by claims from Russian secret services historian Nikolai Luzan that the double was responsible for disclosing to MI6 the names of around 300 GRU staff members and other ‘agents’ including those working abroad.

Some of these military intelligence assets were ‘secretly arrested’ and others ‘vanished’, said Luzan.

Luzan referred to him Skripal in a 2014 interview as ‘this bastard – I’m not scared to use this word’.

‘Just imagine what muck this man did to other people’ – due to his treachery.

There has been no official confirmation of the 300 figure from the GRU.

 Skripal had been living at the address with his wife Liudmila until she died in recent years
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Skripal had been living at the address with his wife Liudmila until she died in recent years

Police at Skripal's property today following the incident at a busy shopping centre in Salisbury
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Police at Skripal’s property today following the incident at a busy shopping centre in Salisbury

State-run TV in Russia even compared him to the legendary Cold War agent Soviet double agent Oleg Penkovsky, who spied for Britain and the United States during the height of the Cold War.

Penvosky was shot by a firing squad in 1963 and is regarded as one of the most effective spies of all time.

Col Skripal and a woman were found slumped on a bench in a busy shopping centre in Salisbury on Sunday.

He is critically ill along with the woman, 33, after they were both found at The Maltings shopping centre in a case that immediately drew parallels to the poisoning of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko.

Before this he was believed to be living at an address on Christie Miller Road in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Skripal had been living at the address with his wife Liudmila until she died in recent years.

Russian agent Anna Chapman poses in swimwear in Thailand as she enjoys new life running fashion line while MI6 spy she was swapped for fights for his life after being ‘poisoned’

By Charlotte Dean for MailOnline

As ex-spy Sergei Skripal fights for life, one of the spies he was swapped with in 2010 – flame-haired Russian agent Anna Chapman – shows off her figure on a beach in Thailand.

Since the exchange, while the ex-GRU colonel sought obscurity in Wiltshire, glamour SVR spy has become a multi-millionaire with her business ventures including her own fashion line and work as a TV presenter.

Undaunted by being stripped of her British passport by then Home Secretary Theresa May, Chapman’s Instagram is currently boasting pictures of her relaxing on Phuket at Nai Harn Baan-Bua – a sumptuous jacuzzi villa complex where a minimum three night stay costs around £600.

Anna Chapman shows off her figure on a beach in Thailand amid the poisoning scandal embroiling the GRU spy she was swapped for
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Anna Chapman shows off her figure on a beach in Thailand amid the poisoning scandal embroiling the GRU spy she was swapped for

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Her latest manoeuvres including lazing on the Thai island's tropical Rawai Beach
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Chapman’s Instagram is currently boasting pictures of her relaxing and posing in Phuket

Her latest manoeuvres including lazing on the Thai island’s tropical Rawai Beach.

But she still found time to heap praise on Vladimir Putin, Russia’s ex-spy president, who eight years ago welcomed her back home with a patriotic singsong when she was thrown out of the USA after being unmasked as a spy by the FBI.

‘It is surely a sensation,’ she wrote of the strongman’s recent state of the nation speech in which he told the world he had new hypersonic nuclear weapons capable of dodging missile defences.

‘The world has changed,’ she announced.

‘It won’t be possible anymore to thumb your nose at Russia without punishment.’

Once married to a British former public schoolboy, the seductive spy is now a propagandist for the Kremlin
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Once married to a British former public schoolboy, the seductive spy is now a propagandist for the Kremlin

The glamour SVR spy has become a multi-millionaire with her business ventures including her own fashion line and TV presenter work
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The glamour SVR spy has become a multi-millionaire with her business ventures including her own fashion line and TV presenter work

Once married to a British former public schoolboy, the seductive spy is now a propagandist for the Kremlin.

She has yet to comment specifically on the alleged poisoning of Skripal, a man who has been branded a ‘traitor’ and a ‘bastard’ on state TV in Russia.

He was blamed for handing over some 300 names of Russian GRU agents or intelligence assets to MI6 for whom he worked as a double agent before his 2004 arrest in Moscow.

In one recent blast, she said on her social media: ‘Sergey Lavrov (foreign minister) has declared that USA was getting ready for a nuclear war with Russia.

‘And just the day after, the president announced our modern strategic weapon – it means that our leadership is particularly serious about the threat of war with the USA.

Chapman, pictured taking a selfie on Instagram, has yet to comment specifically on the alleged poisoning of Skripal
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Chapman, pictured taking a selfie on Instagram, has yet to comment specifically on the alleged poisoning of Skripal

Chapman stayed at Nai Harn Baan-Bua - a sumptuous jacuzzi villa complex where a minimum three night stay costs around £600
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Chapman stayed at Nai Harn Baan-Bua – a sumptuous jacuzzi villa complex where a minimum three night stay costs around £600

‘Putin warned about what we have for a response.

‘Cruise missiles and torpedoes with nuclear engines, supersonic and laser weapons – it is a true ‘weapon of the future’ which became modern thanks to our scientists.’

She warned her 108,000 followers: ‘The USA in their new doctrine imply that nuclear weapons can be used in respond to any kind of threat.

‘In Syria they are behaving with more and more cynicism and toughness, they started supplying flying weapons to Ukraine, and they plan to terminate the agreement on average and short distance missiles.

‘In my opinion, comparing with nowadays situation, the Cold War of the 20th century was a child’s game in the sandbox.’

She urged her followers to join the contest to name Putin’s new nuke.

‘Internet users are already voting for the variants. The top ones are: Givi, Silence, Ash, Cheburashka, American Dream, Muromets, Surprise, Orphan.

‘How would you call this supermodern Russian weapon?’

The swap included Anna Chapman, who had worked several years in London including for Barclays Bank
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The swap included Anna Chapman, who had worked several years in London including for Barclays Bank

In another picture back home in Russia, Chapman – who still uses her British ex-husband’s surname – is seen at a gathering of Vladimir Putin’s youth army or YunArmia.

This has been compared by critics to the Hitler Youth, while supporters insist it is nothing more than a a means of giving schoolchildren military training to keep them out of trouble.

The force has grown to almost 200,000 strong since starting from scratch in May 2016.

Chapman is a mother of one, giving birth to a son in summer 2015.

She has not disclosed the identity of the child’s father.

Chapman has worked as a TV presenter on a show called Mysteries of the World for Ren-TV, a channel owned by National Media Group, headed by ex-Olympic gymnast Alina Kabaeva, 34, rumoured to be Putin’s secret girlfriend.

Chapman – who also runs her own label fashion boutiques in Moscow – is seen as having made a fortune since she was caught red handed operating as a spy in New York in 2010.

The Vienna spy swap which saw MI6 spy handed over to the UK by Putin’s intelligence men in return for Anna Chapman and nine other Russian secret agents

Anna Chapman and nine other Russian secret agents were returned to Russia in exchange for four Western spies in a dramatic swap in 2010.

The exchange, described as the biggest spy swap since the Cold War and which saw Sergei Skripal returned to the West, saw two aircraft parked next to each other in Vienna as the 14 agents involved in the deal swapped planes.

The ten Russian ‘sleeper’ agents had been arrested in the United States, after pleading guilty to ‘conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign country’.

It was claimed they had lived double lives in the US, with fake passports and false identities, with some of them leaving families behind amid the swap.

Anna Chapman (pictured) and nine other Russian secret agents were returned to Russia in exchange for four Western spies in a dramatic swap in 2010
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Anna Chapman (pictured) and nine other Russian secret agents were returned to Russia in exchange for four Western spies in a dramatic swap in 2010

The exchange, described as the biggest spy swap since the Cold War and which saw Sergei Skripal returned to the West, saw two aircraft parked next to each other in Vienna
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The exchange, described as the biggest spy swap since the Cold War and which saw Sergei Skripal returned to the West, saw two aircraft parked next to each other in Vienna

USA and Russia spy swap took place in Vienna in 2010

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They included Anna Chapman, who had worked several years in London including for Barclays Bank, according to The Guardian.

The swap also included Sergei Skripal, who was granted refuge in Britain in the spy swap, the BBC reported.

Skripal received a jail term of 13 years for spying for Britain in 2006, as Russian authorities accused him of paying $100,000 (£72,300 at today’s rate) for intelligence.

The swap took place after US officials determined there was ‘no significant national security benefit’ in imprisoning the ten Russian agents.

In 2016 she appeared to back then-candidate Donald Trump for the White House, suggesting the tycoon would warm icy relations between the Cold War superpowers
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The former Russian spy also gave birth to her first child in 2015, it was reported
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In 2016 she appeared to back then-candidate Donald Trump for the White House, suggesting the tycoon would warm icy relations between the Cold War superpowers

The former Russian spy, the daughter of a senior KGB agent, also gave birth to her first child in 2015, it was reported
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The former Russian spy, the daughter of a senior KGB agent, also gave birth to her first child in 2015, it was reported

Russian and US airplanes in Vienna for spy swap in 2010

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The Vienna exchange was carried out in July 2010, a month after then-President Barack Obama had been informed of the matter, it was reported, with planes sitting on the tarmac for over an hour.

None of the ten Russian spies had succeeded in passing on classified information and so were not charged with espionage, CNN reported at the time.

The other three spies handed over by Russia were Alexander Zaporozhsky, Igor Sutyagin and Gennady Vasilenko.

Sutgayin was a nuclear scientist who spied for the CIA, while Zaporozhsky worked for the foreign intelligence service and Vasilenko was jailed over illegal weapons.

Alexander Zaporozhsky worked for the foreign intelligence service
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Igor Sutyagin was a nuclear scientist who spied for the CIA
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The other three spies handed over by Russia were Alexander Zaporozhsky (left), Igor Sutyagin (right) and Gennady Vasilenko

Gennady Vasilenko, the fourth of the spies handed over by Russia in the 2010 swap deal
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Gennady Vasilenko, the fourth of the spies handed over by Russia in the 2010 swap deal

The swap took place after US officials determined there was 'no significant national security benefit' in imprisoning the ten Russian agents
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The swap took place after US officials determined there was ‘no significant national security benefit’ in imprisoning the ten Russian agents

The Vienna exchange was carried out in July 2010, a month after then-President Barack Obama had been informed of the matter, it was reported
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The Vienna exchange was carried out in July 2010, a month after then-President Barack Obama had been informed of the matter, it was reported

They and Skripal four were allowed to go in the exchange after admitting crimes against the Russian state, a Russian official said.

Reports surfaced in 2014 alleging that Chapman had tried to seduce whistleblower Edward Snowden on orders from the Kremlin, according to a defector Boris Karpichkov, a former KGB agent.

The former Russian spy, the daughter of a senior KGB agent, also gave birth to her first child in 2015, it was reported.

The ex-spy was reportedly running an antique shop in a trendy district of Moscow and working as a TV host after her return to Russia.

In 2016 she appeared to back then-candidate Donald Trump for the White House, suggesting the tycoon would warm icy relations between the Cold War superpowers.

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Замминистра обороны генерал-полковник Александр Фомин выступил перед участниками XV Международного дискуссионного клуба «Валдай»
 

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Он дал оценку ситуации в области глобальной и региональной безопасности, проинформировал о приоритетах деятельности Вооруженных Сил России, подходах к развитию международного военного сотрудничества.

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Germany deports convicted 9/11 suspect home to Morocco

WCJBOct 15, 2018
BERLIN (AP) — A Moroccan man convicted of helping Mohamed Atta and the other Hamburg-based Sept. 11 suicide pilots as they plotted …

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The Early Edition: October 16, 2018

Just Security4 hours ago
Mounir el Motassadeq – convicted of assisting Mohamed Atta and the other Hamburg-based Sept. 11 suicide pilots – was deported yesterday …

Story image for Hamburg-based Sept. 11 suicide pilots from The Japan Times

Blast, casualties reported near Kabul airport following return of Vice …

The Japan TimesJul 22, 2018
“The blast was probably caused by a suicide bomber,” said Interior … left the chartered plane from Turkey where he has lived since May 2017.

Story image for Hamburg-based Sept. 11 suicide pilots from The Japan Times

Stabbed Brazilian presidential candidate needs another ‘big’ operation

The Japan TimesSep 10, 2018
Sep 11, 2018 … of helping Mohamed Atta and the other Hamburg-based Sept. 11 suicide pilots as they plotted attacks on New York and …
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Mounir elMotassadeq, convicted for role in 9/11 attacks, is a free man …

Fox News21 hours ago
Mounir elMotassadeq, one of the only two people who has been tried and sentenced in connection to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is a free …
Germany deports convicted 9/11 accomplice Motassadeq to Morocco
InternationalDeutsche WelleOct 15, 2018
Germany preparing to deport convicted September 11 suspect
InternationalQantara.deOct 15, 2018

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CNBC

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The Seattle Times

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Daily Mail

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The Independent

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Morocco World News

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9/11 attack associate deported

9news.com.au14 hours ago
Mounir El Motassadeq was a member of a group of radical Islamists based in the northern German city of Hamburg who helped bring about the …
In seismic break over Ukraine, Russian Orthodox Church cuts ties with Constantinople – ABC News
 

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In seismic break over Ukraine, Russian Orthodox Church cuts ties with Constantinople
ABC News
… government has lobbied for an independent church on the grounds that the Russian Orthodox Church is an instrument of the Kremlin, accusing it of stoking separatist sentiment in eastern Ukraine and of acting on behalf of Russia’s intelligence services.and more »


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