LONDON, March 9. /TASS/. Former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal continued to provide information to western intelligence agencies after arriving in the UK in 2010, the Financial Times daily said on Friday citing security officials.
According to one former senior security official, Skripal was still valuable for "friendly’ spying agencies."
"There was interest from friendly foreign services after he was released in the spy swap," the source said cited by the Financial Times. "He was useful for a limited period."
In particular, Skripal might have been able to inform western intelligence agencies about "how they [Russians] infiltrate the west, how they recruit, how to counter intelligence."
"That was an ongoing use," a second official told the daily.
In 2004, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested Skripal and later on, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for high treason. Six years later, the former colonel was handed over to the US as part of a swap involving espionage suspects. In the same year, Skripal arrived in the UK and settled there.
On March 4, the local police said the 66-year-old man and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench near The Maltings shopping center in Salisbury, following exposure to an unknown nerve agent. Both remain in hospital in critical condition.
As the UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson spoke earlier this week in the House of the Commons, he drew parallels between the cases of Skripal and Litvinenko, who lived in a self-imposed exile in London from 2001 and until his bizarre death at the end of 2006. He added that Russia is "engaged in a host of malign activities."
Earlier on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia was ready to assist in investigating any case, including the Salisbury incident if professional channels were used for request.