Chemical weapons marching closer to UK streets: Minister
Britain’s Security Minister Ben Wallace has warned that the country is closer than ever to chemical weapons attack targeting ordinary citizens on the streets.
“I see plots where the only limit to the ambition of our adversaries is their imagination,” said Wallace on Tuesday while addressing a security conference in London.
The comments come amid a row between Britain and Russia about a suspected chemical attack in March in Salisbury, southern England, on a former Russian spy. London accuses Moscow of ordering the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Russia denies the allegations.
Wallace said, without referring to Russia, that terrorists were coming up with new methods to kill Britons on the streets, urging the government and the people to be more prepared for such contingencies.
“As I speak, terrorists continue to explore new ways to kill us on our streets: chemical and biological weapons are marching in closer,” he said, adding, “They have developed and worked on a better arsenal. We have to be prepared for the day that might come to our streets here.”
Russian’s Putin says former spy Skripal who was poisoned in Britain was a “scumbag” and traitor.
However, the British official repeated the allegation on Russia about the Salisbury poisoning and said the way Russians carried out the attack, allegedly through two officers of Moscow’s military intelligence agency (GRU) who traveled to Britain under aliases, made it easy to laugh at its spies.
However, Wallace reiterated that the world should not underestimate Russian spies and their skills, repeating the accusations that Moscow succeeded in having two spies use a nerve agent on Britain’s streets.
“It’s easy to laugh at some of the GRU’s poor trade-craft and their ability, but we should not underestimate them, nor indeed the dangerous and reckless use of nerve agent on our streets,” he said.
British authorities on Tuesday declined to comment on reports by a website that claimed to have identified the real identity of a second Russian man accused of poisoning Skripal.
UK says new hacking allegations against Russia shows it is fostering instability around the world.
The Bellingcat, a website claiming to be investigating the Skripal case, said the man identified by British police as Alexander Petrov was in fact Alexander Mishkin, a doctor working for the GRU. The website had earlier identified the other Russian suspect, Ruslan Boshirov, as Anatoliy Chepiga, a former colonel serving under Russian army.
London’s police force said in a statement on Tuesday that it would not comment on Bellingcat’s speculations.
“We are not going to comment on speculation regarding their identities,” said the police, without elaborating