A former senior officer with the rank of colonel in the Austrian Army was recently found to be a Russian agent who assisted Russia in the planning and execution of the Salisbury "Novichok" poisonings. The ex-officer, Martin Moller, 72 years old, was identified as an agent by NATO in a large-scale operation of European intelligence services including MI6.
Moller helped carry out the operations of unit 29155, the special operations and assassination unit of the GRU, Russia's military intelligence service. Among the information that Moller transferred was sensitive data on known poisons in the European Union and NATO so unit 29155 could choose a nerve agent for the Salisbury operation that could not be identified.
The operation in Salisbury was a March 2018 operation in which the Russian assassination unit poisoned Sergei Skripal and his daughter using a nerve agent known as "Novichok". Skripal, a former member of the GRU who defected to Britain, was found unconscious along with his daughter on a park bench in the city of Salisbury. The two were rushed to a hospital, and a month later they were transferred by the British police to a secret location.
The nerve agent was sprayed on them in the middle of the park by members of the assassination unit using a harmless-looking perfume bottle. After the assassination attempt, the bottle was thrown into a garbage can in the park, where it was found by a passer-by who gave it to his girlfriend, who later died after using it as perfume.
The assassination attempt sparked a major diplomatic crisis between Britain and Russia. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson publicly accused Russia and Putin of being responsible. Russia denied any involvement in the matter.
Moller, via his lawyer, denied any connection to the affair or to Russian intelligence.