BuzzFeed calls it "one of the most disturbing geopolitical trends of our time": Russian security services or mafia groups assassinating the country's enemies in the UK and British police refusing to do anything about it. According to a two-year investigation by the news site, US intelligence has linked 14 deaths in Britain dating back to the early 2000s to Russia, suspecting the 14 individuals were assassinated. In all cases—despite US intelligence sharing its information—British police ruled out foul play. Current and former intelligence officials in the US and UK say the reason police are ignoring the suspected assassinations is a combination of fear of retaliation, a desire to keep Russian money flowing to British banks and properties, and general incompetence.
Some of the details of the suspected assassinations seem straight out of an old pulp novel. Take Scot Young, a well-connected fixer for the super-rich. His millions disappeared in a Russian property deal and he told police he was being hunted by Russian hitmen. When he was impaled on a fence after falling from his penthouse, he was the ninth person in his group of friends and associates to die. Police declared his death a suicide without even dusting for prints. BuzzFeed calls Young part of a "ring of death on British soil," and now there's fear among American officials that ring will expand across the Atlantic. "The Kremlin has aggressively stepped up its efforts to eliminate and silence its enemies abroad,” a high-ranking US intelligence official says. Read the full story here. (Read more Longform stories.)