In the aftermath of the poisoning earlier this year in Salisbury, England, of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the usual suspects were queuing up to give us the dubious benefit of their harebrained conspiracy theories as to who might have been responsible.
It was nothing to do with the Russians, they chorused, with some claiming that the poisoning had been staged by the British government in order to embarrass President Putin. Even the Russian ambassador to Thailand wrote to Have Your Say, denying Russian involvement, but at least he was only doing his job.
Since then, however, things have moved on, and thanks to painstaking work by the intelligence services in Britain and elsewhere, we now know the identity of the assailants, and much else besides. They are indeed members of Russia’s military intelligence, the GRU. It has also now been revealed that two of their GRU comrades had been detained in the Netherlands, and their car was found to be full of sophisticated surveillance equipment.
Only the seriously deluded can now deny that President Putin and his cohorts are engaged upon a determined strategy to undermine the Western democracies and their institutions by every means at their disposal. British Prime Minister May was ridiculed by many for immediately blaming the Russian government for the Salisbury poisoning attack, but she has been proved right. She and her opposite numbers in the Western democracies must stand firm and ensure that the Russian bear is pushed back into its cage, and stays there.