The Skripals have been in Russia's sights for some time, or so alleged the UK on Friday. National Security Adviser Mark Sedwill accused the country of spying on Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia for a minimum of five years, and offered some specifics in a letter sent to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday, reports Reuters. In it, Sedwill alleged Russia's GRU military intelligence service had its cyber experts break into Yulia's email in 2013.
The AP reports the letter offered what Britain considers to be the evidence that Russia was behind the nerve-agent attack on the pair—evidence that was previously classified, reports the Guardian, which notes such public disclosures are "extremely rare." The letter, which can be read in full here, also states that the highest concentrations of Novichok were found on Sergei Skripal's front door handle, and alleges that during the 2000s, Russia tested ways of how to deliver nerve agents, "including by application to door handles." Sedwill wrote that "it is highly likely that the Russian intelligence services view at least some of its defectors as legitimate targets for assassination." Russia continues to deny the claims. Read more recent findings in the case here.