Scotland Yard Confirms Ex Russian Spy, His Daughter Were Targeted by Nerve Agent
20:47 07.03.2018(updated 21:30 07.03.2018)
Russian ex-spy and daughter were deliberately targeted, case being treated as attempted murder, according to UK police.
British police are investigating an incident in which Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, became critically ill as attempted murder by administration of a nerve agent, Mark Rowley, the head of counter-terrorism police said.
"In summary, this is being treated as a major incident involving attempted murder by administration of a nerve agent. I can also confirm that we believe the two people originally who became unwell were targeted specifically," Mark Rowley said in a statement.
The United Kingdom has not given Russia any information about the investigation into the Salisbury incident involving former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, the Russian embassy in the United Kingdom said in a statement.
"Unfortunately, we have so far received no details on the substance of the case, which is rather worrying. Meanwhile, the Foreign Secretary's strongly anti-Russian statement in Parliament yesterday looks more like an attempt to send the investigation upon a political track. Although absolutely no facts were provided to the public, we see the issue being translated into the domain of Russia-UK relations, with an active support by the media," the statement said.
Moscow emphasized that Britain would use the case to fuel an "anti-Russian campaign" and further tension ties with Britain.
"The parliamentary debate, as well as the Government stance, are a testament of London's growing unpredictability as a partner in international relations, whose policy towards Russia is inconsistent and looks rather miscalculated, not least in the eyes of the Russian public," the diplomatic mission said.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd chaired a meeting of the government's emergency committee, known as Cobra, to handle the investigation, which is now in the hands of counter-terrorism police.
"We need to keep a cool head and make sure we collect all the evidence we can," Rudd said. "And then we need to decide what action to take."
A Wiltshire police officer, who was one of the first to arrive at the scene of the incident with a nerve agent, which almost killed a former Russian spy, is also receiving intensive care, Temporary Chief Constable at Wiltshire Police, Kier Pritchard, said.
Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, said there was a low hazard to the public.
On March 5, Wiltshire police reported that a man and a woman were found unconscious on a bench at a shopping center in Salisbury, underscoring that both people were "in critical condition" and being treated for suspected exposure to an unknown substance. It was then confirmed that the man was Sergei Skripal, who was granted asylum in the United Kingdom after a US-Russia spy exchange, while the woman was identified as his daughter Yulia.
Back in 2006, Skripal was incarcerated in Russia to 13 years for cooperating with the UK Secret Intelligence Service MI-6 and disclosing names of Russian intelligence agents working undercover in Europe. In 2010, then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev approved a decree pardoning Skripal.