On March 4th, Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double-agent, and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious in Salisbury, England. The two became victims of an apparent poisoning, using a nerve agent called Novichok by Russia.Very little is known about the potent Novichok but it was developed in the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War. The poison is actually a collection of chemical weapons that becomes deadly after two ingredients are mixed. It’s easy to store and can easily hide from inspectors but it can cause unconsciousness, seizing, vomiting, loss control of bodily functions and immobility. The agent can be five to eight times more potent than other deadly nerve agents so the fact that Yulia and Sergei Skripal have not died reveals it must have been a low dose, impure or not administered efficiently. However, they still lay in the hospital in a critical condition. Treating Novichok poisoning is basically impossible so conventional nerve agent antidotes are not deemed to work.
Russia’s decision to use this weapon seems as though “the Russians are sending a message to the West that they can reach anywhere,” expresses Jean Pascal Zanders, a former senior research fellow at the European Union Institute for Security Studies. In response to this attack on two British citizens, the United Kingdom along with Germany and France suspect Russia had inclusion in this attack. Though Moscow denies involvement, “the United States shares the United Kingdom’s assessment that Russia is responsible for the nerve agent attack on a British citizen and his daughter” according to theHill. British Prime Minister, Theresa May expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the UK after the attack which rose hostilities between London and Moscow. This the the single biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats in more than three decades as measures are put in place “to target Russian assets and strengthen UK defenses,” revealed by CNN. Russia was to have destroy its 39,3967 metric tons of chemical weapons by September 2017 but now the British Prime Minister has demanded Moscow to release the make up of several nerve agents. However, Russia is very good at keeping secrets.