MORE people are at risk of Salisbury-style nerve agent attacks, the head of MI5’s Russia desk has warned.
President Putin’s henchmen are scoping out new targets after the botched poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
“We know that the Russian state continues to take an interest in people here who we deem to be at risk,” the secret agent told Sky News' Into The Grey Zone podcast.
“And that's not a passive interest," he added. "It's quite an active interest.” Police and MI5 have offered bespoke protection to an undisclosed number of people since the Salisbury attack in 2018.
“We do absolutely everything we can to stop any events from taking place in the UK …but there are no absolute guarantees,” the agent, named as Tom, said.
“I cannot say for certain that we are safe. We can't prevent an incredibly well resourced, determined and ruthless adversary from finding some kind of way of getting something like Novichok in.”
The attack by Russia’s GRU intelligence service killed innocent mum-of-three Dawn Sturgess and left her partner Charlie Rowley, policeman Nick Bailey and the Skripals fighting for their lives in 2018.
Moscow is desperate to rebuild its network after the government kicked out 23 spies in response.
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“We know that the Russians are keen to rebuild their embassy intelligence officer cadre, we are very keen to ensure that doesn't happen,” Tom added.
“We've been able to devote more resources to looking at people who might not be associated with the embassy. People who might be here either permanently, or visitors under business cover, or as journalists or academics or tourists or others who might want to come into the UK.”
Putin's political rival Alexei Navalny survived a Novichok poisoning last year and has since been jailed in Russia.
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