The same Russian military intelligence service now accused of disrupting the 2016 presidential election in the United States may also be responsible for the nerve agent attack in Britain against a former Russian spy — an audacious poisoning that led to a geopolitical confrontation this spring between Moscow and the West. British investigators believe the March 4 attack on the former spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, was most probably carried out by current or former agents of the service, known as the GRU, who were sent to his home in southern England, according to one British official, one US official and one former US official familiar with the inquiry, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence.
British officials are closing in on identifying the individuals they believe carried out the operation, said the former US official. At the same time, investigators have not ruled out the possibility that another Russian intelligence agency, or a privatised spinoff, could be responsible.
President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin of Russia are to hold a much-scrutinised meeting Monday in Helsinki, Finland. For months, Trump has angrily belittled the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. But on Friday, the Justice Department announced a bombshell indictment of 12 GRU officers in the hacking of internal communications of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign.