Sir Andrew Wood, the former British Ambassador to Russia has said that Russian leader Vladimir Putin is on “a search for past glory” following the attempted assassination of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal.
Sir Andrew told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “Putin doesn’t really have [an end game]. He wants to restore, as he would see it, the idea of Russia’s greatness.
“He would wish to be able to influence the policies of other countries.
“He would wish that Russia is the equivalent of the United States as was the way back in the Cold War.”
‘They are not achieving much glory’
Images of second Skripal suspect allegedly identified as Dr Alexander Mishkin. Image: Bellingcat/PA
The investigative website Bellingcat named the second suspect in the Sergei and Yulia Skripal poisoning case as Dr Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin.
The website reported Mr Mishkin travelled to Salisbury under the alias Alexander Petrov.
Mishkin, 39, is a trained military doctor in the employ of the GRU, and graduated from one of Russia's elite Military Medical Academies, the site reports.
Sir Andrew added: “It is a search for past glory but they are not achieving much glory because the way that they are using it is extremely crude.
“Russia should be achieving glory by returning to great literature and pursuing its talents in music.
“It should be improving the health of its population and it should be spending more on education.”
Photo of four GRU officers who entered the Netherlands at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on April 10, travelling on official Russian passports. Image: PA
Sir Andrew previously claimed cyber attacks believed to have been carried out by GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, were born out of Putin's "paranoia".
The UK government has accused GRU of being behind a number of cyber attacks, including on the US Democratic party, a small TV network in the UK and on the World Anti-Doping Agency computers.
In an interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer, Sir Andrew Wood said that the attacks were a way for the Putin to "prepare himself" against possible future attacks on Russia.
"There was an element of paranoia in the Russian reactions, and Putin assumes that everybody else is just as untruthful and malevolent as he is, and that he needs to prepare himself against possible attacks," Sir Andrew said.
"The attack on the Anti-Doping was to expose other people and promote the idea that it wasn't just the Russians doping in the Olympics and so on. I think that's pretty clear. The more general is to establish the fact that they can do this if they want to.
"It is a threat that has been used against smaller countries as a precursor, like Georgia, to military action. It's part of a pattern.
"I suppose to some degree they need to practice it every now and again to see if it works. And also because if you task an agency like the GRU to have this sort of capacity, it's going to try it out, and is going to prove to Putin that they can do it."