From Nudge to Novichok: The response to the Skripal nerve agent attack holds lessons for countering hybrid threats

by Sir David Omand - April 18, 2018

The attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia using a military grade nerve agent known as Novichok is an extreme manifestation of an “active measure” of a type for which the Russian state has been responsible in the past. The combination of the known Russian association with the development of the Novichok nerve agent, Russia’s likely motive to punish those the Russian state regards as traitors, and the fact that the poisoning of a former FSB defector using radioactive Polonium 210 had previously been carried out in the UK in 2006 led not only the British government but the US and other NATO allies and EU member states to declare publicly that there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable for the attempted murder of the Skripals and for using an internationally banned nerve agent to do so, writes Sir David Omand, Visiting Professor at King’s College London.

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