On Security

To Russia With Caution

Scott Stewart
VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor
Mar 20, 2018 | 08:00 GMT
At a newsstand in Moscow, a paper announces Russian President Vladimir Putin's re-election.

Russia has been particularly truculent in response to waves of international condemnation following a recent high-profile assassination attempt. 

(KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Just when it looks like relations between Russia and the West have hit rock bottom, they manage to reach a new low. It's a pattern we've been tracking for the last decade as Russia's security services have grown more aggressive in their tactics. And sure enough, tensions have flared once again following the attack on Col. Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer who, along with his daughter, was poisoned with a rare nerve agent in London on March 4. The British government has since announced that the nerve agent used in the attack was a novichok, Russian for "newcomer" -- a substance Russia's chemical weapons program reportedly developed to bypass the restrictions of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Moscow signed in 1993. After the novichok revelation, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced the expulsion from London of 23 Russian diplomats believed to be intelligence officers. The British...

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