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Vladimir Putin could kill again on Britain's streets, defence secretary Grant Shapps warns

Vladimir Putin could kill again on Britain's streets, defence secretary Grant Shapps warns

Agents working for Vladimir Putin could “kill again” on Britain’s streets, Britain’s defence secretary has warned.

Grant Shapps said on Saturday night that events such as the Salisbury poisonings of Sergei and Yulia Skripal could be repeated.

The Welwyn MP spoke to the Sun following the death of Putin critic Alexei Navalny in Russian prison.

Mr Shapps said: “Putin has Navalny’s blood on his hands.

“Navalny should never have been in prison. His crime was standing up to an autocratic and now dictatorial Putin, who has a long history of bumping off his opponents.

“He does it at home and abroad. And the world must not waver or bend to that kind of squalid leadership.”

He added: "We know what happens when you do — you end up with the mess of the last century.”

After the death of Mr Navalny, Britain’s defence has been encouraged to consider bolstering its forces by introducing conscription.

Mr Shapps has expressed fears that the incident in Salisbury could be repeated but has said that the world will stand up to Mr Putin.

He added: “Look what happened in Salisbury. We’ve seen what Putin is capable of.

“His behaviour makes him a pariah. He thinks the more he does it the stronger he gets.

“But in the eyes of the world it makes him more desperate and weaker.”

Asked if there could be a repeat of the Novichok assassination attempt on the Skripals, Mr Shapps said: “We are always tracking and trying to prevent those things.

“But do I think he has intent? You have seen that. So, yes.”

In March 2018, Russian ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia were found slumped on a park bench in Salisbury, Wiltshire, after being poisoned with novichok. Both survived and now live under protection, believed to be in the UK.