Russian spy attack inquiry widens as 21 receive medical attention

Posted March 11, 2018

They're tasked with removing vehicles and objects due to fears of contamination.

Police extended the cordon around the modest suburban home of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, the quiet city in southwestern England where he and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a bench on Sunday.

Johnson had said the case had "echoes" of what happened to former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who died a slow death after drinking tea laced with highly radioactive polonium-210 in a London hotel in 2006.

Nearly 200 specialists from the RAF and Marines began removing contaminated materials to be sent for analysis at the nearby Porton Down defence laboratory, seven days after the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal, the Russian double agent.

They remain in a serious condition in hospital, along with detective sergeant Nick Bailey, who was also exposed to the nerve agent.

On Friday, police called in about 180 marines, soldiers and air force personnel with expertise in chemical weapons, decontamination and logistics to help with the probe and to remove vehicles that might be contaminated.

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"This was attempted murder in the most cruel and public way", Ms Rudd told parliament in a statement.

Longer term plans would include bolstering British military capabilities in Eastern Europe and lobbying North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in July for further reinforcements, it said.

Sergei Lavrov seemed to resent suggestions that Moscow was behind the nerve agent attack on the Skripals, calling such claims "propaganda".

On Saturday, investigators dressed in protective suits were seen around her grave with a brightly coloured gurney placed nearby, while workers erected a barrier at the entrance to the cemetery where Lyudmila was buried following her death in 2012.

Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Blair said the "extraordinary attack in Salisbury" is a good reason to investigate whether there is a pattern of former British intelligence collaborators dying in the UK.

Authorities are racing to find the source of the nerve agent used against 66-year-old Skripal, who came to Britain in 2010 as part of a spy swap, as politicians warned it bore the hallmarks of an attack by Russian Federation.

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The pair are critically ill after being attacked with an undisclosed nerve agent.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May could announce sanctions "as soon as Monday", according to the Daily Telegraph.

"But in order to conduct such cases, it is necessary not to immediately run out on TV screens with unfounded allegations", Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was quoted as saying by Russian state news agency Tass.

There is a new lead in the nerve agent poisoning of the former Russian General Staff Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GRU) officer, convicted for espionage in favor of Great Britain in Russia.

The U.K. has vowed to take strong action against whoever was responsible for the "brazen and reckless" attack.

A detailed United Kingdom inquiry later concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin probably approved the operation by Russian agents to kill Litvinenko. The police qualify the incident as an assassination attempt. "If you really need help from Russian Federation, then we will be ready to consider such a possibility, if we do have relevant data", he said, speaking in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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