Salisbury Novichok Attack Claims First Victim

Emergency workers in protective suits search an area in Salisbury, England, on July 6 after a man and woman were exposed to the Novichok nerve agent.
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Salisbury Novichok Attack Claims First Victim

‘Cross Russia and face the consequences.’

A British woman died in Salisbury on July 8 from exposure to the same deadly nerve agent that hospitalized a former Russian spy in March. A man who was also accidentally exposed to the nerve agent Novichok remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Authorities suspect that the couple unwittingly handled some item contaminated with Novichok that had probably been used in the attempted assassination of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia four months ago. The Skripals were poisoned with Novichok eight miles from where the couple, Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, became ill on June 30. As of July 9, authorities still have not located the Novichok-tainted item, raising fears that more people may be exposed.

The couple has no known connection with the Skripals or Russia, so police do not believe that someone was attempting to assassinate Sturgess and Rowley. However, Sturgess’s death is being investigated as a murder. British Home Secretary Sajid Javid openly blamed Russia for the attack, accusing the Russians of using Britain as a “dumping ground for poison.”

The Soviet Union developed Novichok in the 1970s at the height of the Cold War. Little is known about the poison, except that it is extremely hard to detect and is highly lethal. One Russian scientist who was developing Novichok nerve agents died after accidental exposure to the poison. According to, Novichok is five to eight times more deadly than the VX nerve agent that killed Kim Jong-nam, the brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Novichok is designed to be absorbed through the skin, almost immediately shutting down the nervous system and leading to paralysis. Even trace amounts of Novichok can kill. Symptoms usually begin within a few minutes of exposure.

After the investigation into the Skripal poisoning, British Prime Minister Theresa May said: “[T]he UK government concluded it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for this reckless and despicable act. … Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country. Or conceivably, the Russian government could have lost control of a military-grade nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.”

Russia has not admitted to losing control of the nerve agent, so May concluded that “there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian state was culpable for the attempted murder of Mr. Skripal and his daughter—and for threatening the lives of other British citizens in Salisbury ….”

Now the nerve agent attack has killed a British citizen, who presumably wasn’t even the target. May and her government are treating the Skripal attack and Sturgess’s death as a chemical weapons attack on British soil. In response to the attack, the UK government cautioned British citizens from traveling to Russia for the World Cup. The British royal family and UK politicians have also avoided traveling to the matches, in which England is a quarter-finalist. However, the UK has “no current plans” for more sanctions against Russia after Sturgess’s death.

Russia, however, still denies all involvement in the Skripal poisoning. It has even suggested that the UK “orchestrated the attack to fuel anti-Russian sentiment,” according to the Independent. RT, a state-sponsored news organization, called Sturgess’s and Rowley’s poisoning “another wave of anti-Russian hysteria.” It compared Britain’s accusations to 1970s anti-Communist McCarthyism in America. Sputnik, another Kremlin-sponsored news organization, complained that the UK government and media blamed Russia for the Skripal attack, “despite the fact that no evidence of Moscow’s involvement has ever been presented.”

Prime Minister May is not convinced. The Russian government developed Novichok, and there is no evidence that anyone else has access to it. May said after the Skripal poisoning: “Many of us looked at a post-Soviet Russia with hope. We wanted a better relationship, and it is tragic that President Putin has chosen to act in this way. But we will not tolerate the threat to life of British people and others on British soil from the Russian government. Nor will we tolerate such a flagrant breach of Russia’s international obligations.”

Sturgess’s death was probably unintended. However, the message behind the Skripal assassination attempt remains clear. At the time of the Skripal poisoning, the Trumpet wrote: “The brutal assassination attempt in England has Russian fingerprints all over it; it’s a warning from Moscow to the world: Cross Russia and face the consequences.”

In “Kremlin’s Fingerprints on Nerve Agent Attack in UK,” wrote:

This situation is the latest in a long list of reasons why Russia, and especially President Vladimir Putin, should be watched with extreme concern.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote about this dangerous man in his article “Should Donald Trump Trust Vladimir Putin?” He showed readers why the Russian president is not to be trusted, especially by America’s head of state. Putin is a former member of the kgb, the Soviet’s ruthless intelligence agency of the Cold War. He was trained in covert tactics and espionage, and indoctrinated in Russian imperialism. He was later greatly impacted by the humiliating collapse of the ussr, for which a number of Russians still believe requires revenge.

Putin has also proved in the past that he is not a man to be crossed. Evidence links the Kremlin to the 2006 assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, a kgb turncoat. Similar to Skripal, Litvinenko had defected to the UK and apparently worked with MI6. He was also poisoned on British soil in a manner that left London with little doubt as to who ordered the assassination.

By attacking both Litvinenko and Skripal in this manner, Putin is letting the world know that traitors of Russia will not go unpunished. In essence, he is saying, “No matter where you flee, revenge will be ours.”

“This man is not just an authoritarian leader!” Gerald Flurry wrote. “He is an evil, ruthless, vindictive agent with Soviet-style methods of psychological warfare, assassination and war!” He is not a man to be trusted.

The Salisbury attack was right out of the kgb playbook. Mr. Flurry wrote in “Vladimir Putin: Friend or Foe?”: “From a child, Vladimir Putin dreamed of becoming a spy! … Many analysts and experts say that Vladimir Putin has resurrected the kgb—and made it far more deadly.”

The UK does not know for certain who was behind the Salisbury assassination attempt. Whoever it was, using a military-grade nerve agent instead of a gun, knife or other common weapons showed that the perpetrator is not afraid of the trail leading straight to Russia—neither is he afraid of Britain’s response. Sturgess and Rowley happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, “collateral damage” in a brazen assassination attempt.

To learn more about the significance of Putin’s kgb-style tactics and what they will mean for the Western world, read Gerald Flurry’s free booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia.’ You can also watch our 90-second video “Who Is Vladimir Putin?