Sunday, 23 September, 2018

UK Deploys Military Experts In Former Russian Spy Poising Probe

Salisbury Spy Maltings Hasmat Team Russian spy: Foreign minister says Russia willing to help in inquiry
Andrew Cummings | 11 March, 2018, 01:33

Britain's home secretary and government ministers held an emergency meeting Saturday as investigators probe the attempt to kill a former Russian double agent and his daughter using a rare nerve agent.

Skripal and his daughter Yulia, seen in a composite photo, were found slumped on a park bench last Sunday outside a shopping centre in the southern English town of Salisbury.

Ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia are still critically ill after they were found collapsed on a bench in Salisbury.

Entrances to the cemetery remained sealed off by police cordons and a blue and white forensic tent was also seen over the memorial stone of Mr Skripal's son Alexander, who was cremated a year ago.

In 2006, Skripal was convicted in Russian Federation of being a double agent and secretly passing classified information to British intelligence.

Counterterrorism detectives are leading a vast investigation.

At the hospital where the Skripals were being treated another team used an army truck to remove a police vehicle.

Authorities say there is no risk to the general public from the attack.

Police have not revealed what nerve agent was involved.

Detectives were retracing the Skripals' movements as they try to discover how the toxin was administered and where it was manufactured.

Military chemical experts were continuing their work on Saturday in the city, including at the grave of Mr Skripal's wife Liudmila, who was buried in 2012, and the memorial stone of his son Alexander who was cremated past year. His wife died of cancer in 2012, while his son died from liver failure in 2017 and was buried in the United Kingdom.

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Skripal's son, Alexander, died in July a year ago at the age of 43.

Possible responses include the expulsion of some of Russia's 58 diplomats, some kind of boycott of the 2018 football World Cup or an increased British military presence in eastern Europe.

Officers in hazmat suits were seen placing a blue forensic tent over his son's memorial stone before appearing to stuff items in several yellow barrels. "There may be some clues floating around in here", he said of Skripal's house.

"A well-equipped lab and a very experienced analytical chemist can do it, but it's not the sort of thing a chancer doing kitchen-sink chemistry can get away with", chemical weapons expert Richard Guthrie said.

On Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov dismissed allegations of Russian involvement as "propaganda".

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

The attack has been likened to the assassination of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who died in London in 2006 after drinking green tea laced with radioactive polonium-210.

"The impact locally is still being experienced everyday. we have a large part of Salisbury that is still cordoned off, around The Maltings, near to the Zizzi restaurant, and The Mill pub".

Commenting on the issue, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin had no information on what could have caused the incident and noted that Moscow was open for cooperation.

"Alcoholism, drug addiction, stress and depression are inevitable professional illnesses of a traitor, resulting in heart attacks and even suicide", Channel One anchorman Kirill Kleimenov said in the Wednesday broadcast.

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