MI5 chief criticises Russian Federation over Salisbury poisoning

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Giving the first public speech outside the United Kingdom by a serving Director General of MI5, Andrew Parker will tell an audience of European spy chiefs in Berlin that as we approach Brexit only "shared strength" can guarantee collective security in an "uncertain world".

Vladimir Putin's regime has been the subject of global condemnation since the attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal in March, which saw the first use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War.

Moscow has repeatedly denied having any role in the poisoning, citing the lack of proof provided by British authorities to substantiate these accusations. Following the attack, Mr Salmond has come under sustained pressure from political opponents and some SNP colleagues to stop producing his programme for RT.

MI5 chief Andrew Parker said in a landmark speech in Berlin that a March nerve agent attack on Russian nationals Sergei and Yulia Skripal, which also injured a police officer, was a "deliberate and targeted malign activity" on British soil.

Russian Federation is committing "flagrant breaches of worldwide rules", he will say.

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"Bare-faced lying seems to be the default mode, coupled with ridicule of critics", he argued.

Beside the threat from militant Islamists, including Islamic State operating in Syria and Iraq, Parker described Russia as a hostile state which was seeking to undermine the West, though he said he had no argument with the Russian people and that he had once studied Russian.

He drew a distinction between the Russian government and Russian people.

The Salisbury attack, he told the conference, was "swiftly followed by a cynical and distasteful information campaign to sow confusion and doubt".

Russian officials suggested Britain had carried out the attack to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

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The embassy has accused the British government of destroying evidence and denying access to the investigation, while describing findings that the Novichok chemical had originated in Russian Federation as a "myth".

Skripal and his daughter were both found unconscious on a bench in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.

A large-scale investigation to identify the would-be assassin or assassins is ongoing.

He also said the European Commission is working with social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter to better inform users about why they are seeing certain posts and who is paying for them, to help protect against disinformation campaigns by groups or governments outside the country. The Skripals' recovery was down to the "near miraculous" medical treatment they had received, Parker said.

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