It is not a matter of if but when the UK will be hit with another state-sanctioned Novichok-style attack, a Russian dissident claims.
Said to be Vladimir Putin's most wanted, Bill Browder believes "100%” there will be another poisoning similar to the 2018 Salsbury attack on British soil.
He also believes there are Russian sleeper cells in the UK and “very many” are primed to work alongside Russian secret service the GRU, to form a hit squad.
Browder, 56, believed he is at high risk of being killed by Putin's squad and is top of the hit list since speaking out about Russian corruption.
Speaking from a secret UK location, Browder revealed his belief Putin is determined to silence his critics no matter where they are and believes London-based victim could be the next.
Browder revealed all following the news Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny was poisoned on a flight – which the Russian government deny.
He was taken ill during a flight to Moscow and left screaming in pain as the pilot made an emergency landing in Siberia, before being transferred in a coma to Berlin.
Speaking to the Mirror Browder issued a warning Putin will strike again and it's not a matter of if now, but when.
He said: “There is a 100% chance of it happening again in the UK.
“Putin knows he can get away with it. London is full of people who would do it. There is a whole cadre of people here working for the Russian security services.”
Browder has been in hiding for years since campaigning to invoke his Magnitsky Act, which can cripple assets of anyone violating human rights.
Named after his lawyer Sergei, who was murdered in 2009 while in prison on trumped up charges, Browder's act was used by the UK in July to hit 35 Russians suspected of his murder.
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Putin has tried many times to seize Browder, even resorting to hiring a para-military gang to illegally rendition him back to Russia from the UK.
Browder explained his theory about Russian spies working here, saying: “You have the embassy, the cultural attaches, then you have the people who aren't officials on the payroll, people employed by the GRU or the FSB organisations and then you have freelancers that those people hire.
“Those people could also be British. They don't even do it at arms length – they do it openly.”
As an example of how dangerous Russians-for-hire working for the GRU could be, Browder was warned several years ago by US officials a hit squad planned to snatch him in the UK.
He added: “I was alerted by the US government that they had picked up intelligence to suggest a group of Russians was organising to have me kidnapped and taken back to Russia.”
Asked if the US had intelligence that the kidnappers were in the UK he answered :”Yes. This town is full of Russians.”
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Alexei Navalny was likely “poisoned” by a nerve agent from the same family as Novichok.
These killer substances cause violent muscle spasms, twitching, breathing difficulty, convulsions and possible death.
Berlin doctors have said early examination of the 44 year-old campaigner showed he was likely poisoned.
Members of Putin's GRU intelligence agency were behind the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in 2018, using Novichok.
They daubed the nerve agent on the handle of the former GRU double agent's door handle at his home in Salisbury.
The pair, a police officer and two others were made desperately ill and local woman Dawn Sturgess died from Novichok poisoning after her boyfriend found a perfume bottle containing the poison.
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Despite growing suspicions Putin ordered a hit on Navalny, publicly the Kremlin has claimed they wished him well and hoped for a “speedy recovery.”
But it falls into a pattern of Russian-backed intimidation of anyone speaking out against Putin, who has amassed a huge fortune of around £180billion, hidden amongst the assets of supporters globally.
In one suspected attack, a British intellectual who has been critical of Putin had his house burned down overnight in the UK and suffered a near-fatal mystery illness.
Anyone, including journalists and lecturers who speak publicly about Putin's corrupt regime can be targeted as many have come under the attention of the Russian leaders intelligence agitators.
Bruce Jones, one of the UK's top Russia analysts told the Mirror: “In Britain incidents involving those who assess Russian developments occur mostly below the radar and do not get reported.
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“The Kremlin views anyone who does not conform to its views as an ‘existential threat’, but direct linkages are often difficult to prove.
“Some Russia experts have suffered mysterious life-threatening illnesses requiring long hospital treatment.
“Others have had houses burn down in the early hours, leaving them with only the clothes they were wearing –everything else destroyed.
“Others have reported what are termed “real-life events” with objects being moved around in their homes when they have been out, presumably as a warning.
“Some hundred people though have had personal information hacked from organisations and posted on line on ‘pirate websites’ – which also contain malware.”
“I had my own details compromised some 18-months ago.”
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