'Novichok' Formula Was Published in a Book – Ex French Intelligence Officer

© REUTERS / Peter NichollsOfficials are helped out to take off their protective suits after repositioning the forensic tent, covering the bench where Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found, in the centre of Salisbury, Britain, March 8, 2018
Officials are helped out to take off their protective suits after repositioning the forensic tent, covering the bench where Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found, in the centre of Salisbury, Britain, March 8, 2018 - Sputnik International
Former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal was allegedly exposed to a poisonous substance. UK PM has accused Russia of being behind the so-called "attack" on the ex-spy, while Moscow has denied all claims. In an interview with Sputnik, former French intelligence officer Alain Rodier points out details in the case that raise questions.

‘Does not Fall in Line With Principles of Secret War'

The former French officer has serious doubts that Russia had something to do with Skripal's poisoning, as it contradicts long-established principles of how secret services operate.

"According to one of the key principles in work of all secret services, if an exchange of agents takes place, no one hunts them down and kills later. It does not fall in line with principles of secret war in its classic interpretation," Alain Rodier told Sputnik France.

READ MORE: Macron Vows to Announce France's Measures Against Russia After Skripal Poisoning

He notes that a certain type of operation exists, called "homo" [human], which is used to eliminate a human target. He adds that even then, it is a simple "come, kill and leave" operation, which results in the target's death so he or she can never address the government or media.

"It is strange that the victim's daughter and a policeman were also affected. It's a very strange course of action," Alain Rodier noted.

READ MORE: WATCH CCTV Footage of Skripal Right Before He Was Found Poisoned

Rodier has also denied allegations that the British secret service could be behind the case in order to influence the Russian presidential elections. He is confident that his British colleagues wouldn't do something that "disgraceful."

"Novichok's" Formula Was Published in a Book

Rodier also reminds that "Novichok's" formula, a nerve agent developed in the USSR and allegedly used to poison Skripal, was not so secret, as another defected agent published a book in the US where he described the special poison development center in the USSR and the results of its work, including formulas for nerve agents, such as the one used against Skripal.

"In a book, published in the US, formulas were given, which leads me to believe that many people new of the existence of such substances," Alain Rodier said.

READ MORE: Top-5 Things to Know About Novichok Nerve Agent Allegedly Used to Poison Skripal

"May Should Exercise Caution Unless She Has Solid Proof"

Rodier is concerned that due process in Skripal's case is not going the way it should — instead of giving proof of Russia's involvement the accusations are being made first. He also warned UK Prime Minister May against preliminary conclusions.

"I believe one should exercise caution here. Unless May has solid proof that Russia is involved in the assassination attempt, she shouldn't draw any conclusions," Alain Rodier said, adding that he hopes the UK brings up serious arguments during the discussion in the UN Security Council.

READ MORE: Skripal Poisoning: 'UK Could End Up Looking Very Foolish' — Former Guernsey MP

He also branded the British move against RT and Sputnik a propaganda effort, noting that Moscow's response will likely be similar and UK media will be banned from Russia.

Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal, who was recruited by the UK secret service in 1995 to work against his homeland, was living in the UK ever since he was released as a result of an agent exchange between the countries in 2010. He and his daughter were found unconscious on March 4 in Salisbury, southern England. Medical experts claim they were exposed to a poisonous substance. Both are currently in critical condition in hospital. Police are conducting an investigation, but it has yielded no results so far.

READ MORE: Lavrov on Skripal Case: Russia to Expel UK Diplomats in Response

Despite the fact that the investigation is still ongoing, UK Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of allegedly staging the assassination attempt as revenge, claiming that the substance that affected Skripal and his daughter was the Russian-developed "Novichok" nerve agent. She announced on March 14 that 23 Russian diplomats will be expelled from the country in response.

Moscow has denied all allegations, demanding London present solid proof of Russia's participation in the alleged assassination attempt. Russia has also agreed to cooperate with the investigation in case the UK sends an official request and allows Moscow to have access to the case's materials, but has received none so far.

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