The Skripal Files: The Life and Near Death of a Russian Spy

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Henry Holt and Company, Oct 2, 2018 - Political Science - 320 pages

The explosive story of the poisoning of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and what it reveals about the growing clandestine conflict between the West and Russia

Salisbury, England: March 4, 2018.

Slumped on a bench, paralyzed and barely able to breathe, were a former Russian intelligence officer named Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. Sergei had been living a quiet life in England since 2010, when he was expelled from Russia as part of a spy swap; he had been serving a lengthy prison sentence for working secretly for the British intelligence agency MI6. On this Sunday afternoon, he and his daughter had just finished lunch at a local restaurant when they started to feel faint. Within minutes they were close to death.

The Skripals had been poisoned, not with a familiar toxin but with Novichok, a deadly nerve agent developed in southern Russia. Was this a message from the Kremlin that traitors would not escape violent death, even on British soil? As Sergei and Yulia fought for their lives, and the British government and their allies sought answers, relations between the West and Russia descended to a new low.

The Skripal Files is a remarkable and definitive account of Sergei Skripal’s story, which lays bare the new spy war between Russia and the West. Mark Urban, the diplomatic and defense editor for the BBC, met with Skripal in the months before his poisoning, learning about his career in Russian military intelligence, how he became a British agent, his imprisonment in Russia, and the events that led to his release. Skripal’s first-hand accounts and experiences reveal the high stakes of a new spy game that harks back to the chilliest days of the Cold War.

 

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Contents

An Unlawful Use of Force
1
Agent
5
The Pitch
7
Sergeis Journey
13
Into the Darkness
24
Master Race No Longer
41
Breakthrough in Madrid
56
Inside the Glass House
70
The Fateful Letter
160
Operation Ghost Stories
173
Deliverance
185
Christie Miller Road
198
Target
211
Sunday 4 March
213
The Fight for Survival
225
Highly Likely Russia
234

The View from Vauxhall
85
Back into the Light
99
Prisoner
113
Inside Lefortovo
115
Litvinenko I29 11 IK5
129
Hitmen
147
The Investigation Falters
254
The Information War
270
The Long Road to Recovery
286
Index
306
Copyright

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About the author (2018)

Mark Urban is Diplomatic and Defense Editor of the BBC’s Newsnight. He has covered many of the world’s conflicts during the past twenty-five years, including the Iraq campaign that began in 2003. He is the author of The Skripal Files. He lives in London.

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