Quality hitmen, these Russians.
I mean, we can all presumably accept that in amongst the rough and tumble of high stakes geopolitics, any given nation and its intelligence services will have (or can concoct) a reason to bump off a rival from almost any other country.
I bet even the Pitcairn Islanders can conceive of a reason to have a pop at Justin Trudeau, for example.
So that’s motive taken care of – what are the other two?
Oh yes, means and opportunity.
Well, the Skripals weren’t exactly armed to the teeth in their underground nuclear bunker fortress, with a supply of tinned food to last a hundred years, their knuckles white on the triggers of Skorpion machine pistols, right?
From what I understand, they were wandering around Salisbury in plain sight, arm-in-arm, popping in to the pub for a pint and a meal together?
Bold as brass.
Picture the scene – Ivan the scarred veteran of a dozen special forces encounters and a decade working some of the most dangerous arenas in the world. A CV that includes Afghanistan, Chechnya, Western Africa, and now is going to take him to the heart of darkness itself.
What weaponry will he need?
Twin uzis and some grenades? A minigun and an ammo pack?
No wait – too obvious. It’s a sleepy town in Southern England Ivan you fool – it has to be like dog farts. Silent, but reliably lethal.
A garrotte? Risky – there’s two of them. What if they’re tooled up?
I have it – how about one of the deadliest nerve agents know to man? A military-grade nerve agent so toxic and lethal that one TEASPOON of this s**t will kill every living organism in a twelve-block radius. Put a drop of it in their shoes ad they will both be dead before they get to the front door.
Nah don’t bother – just liberally smear a load of it on the front door.
Wait. Won’t using a nerve agent with a Russian origin put us in the spotlight?
And what about the postman?
In war, people die.
Lookit – if Ivan is their best man and he couldn’t reliably dispose of an elderly spy and his daughter with this extravagant combination of means and opportunity, then I don’t think we should worry too much about the Russians.
But of course this is all nonsense – you’d have to be bloody stupid to believe any of it.