Support The Moscow Times!

Ex-FSB Chief Says Spies Do Not Poison Relatives, Following 'Unwritten Law'

Andrei Epixin / TASS

The former head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has said that spies follow an “unwritten law” against poisoning the relatives of rival agents and cast doubt on accusations that Moscow had attempted to kill a former double agent in Britain. 

Sergei Skripal, a former intelligence officer who served jail time in Russia for spying for Britain, was poisoned in southern England with his daughter on March 4. British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday that it was “highly likely” that Russia was behind the Skripal’s poisoning.

Ex-FSB chief Nikolai Kovalyov told the state-run TASS news agency Monday that speculation about Russia’s responsibility for Skripal’s poisoning was “illogical.” 

“The operative’s family has immunity because if you start acting through the wife, the children, this process will become irreversible, and it can turn into a virtual blood feud,” he said, citing unwritten intelligence agency rules.

The ex-FSB chief went on to say that Skripal had posed no threat to Russia, allowing him to be part of a spy exchange in 2010 for Russian agents held in the United States. 

“After an evaluation, it was determined that Skripal posed no threat to Russia,” Kovalyov said. 

“This was the basis for his release and exchange,” he added.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more