March 19, 2018

Amber Rudd summons investigators for emergency Cobra talks on Salisbury spy attack

11 March 2018, 01:21 | Simon Arnold

Theresa May branded an attempt to kill a Russian double agent with a nerve agent an'appalling and reckless crime

Theresa May branded an attempt to kill a Russian double agent with a nerve agent an'appalling and reckless crime

The defence ministry said 180 soldiers were being dispatched to the normally quiet city of Salisbury in southwestern England, initially to remove "a number of vehicles and objects from the scene".

Chemical experts from the British military have been called in to help police investigating the attempted murder of on a Russian double agent who remains critically ill in hospital five days after a nerve agent attack.

The Home Office has said it knows what kind of nerve agent was used, but has refuse to disclose the information.

The Times newspaper said police were probing whether Skripal's daughter, who arrived in Britain from Moscow last week, may have inadvertently brought in the nerve agent as a gift.

Last night, it became known that 180 specialists in the chemical protection of the British Armed Forces were sent to disinfect potentially unsafe objects.

The UK is preparing retaliatory measures if it's shown that Russian Federation was responsible for the attack on Skripal who had settled in Salisbury, southern England after a spy swap in 2010.

Mrs Rudd had earlier visited Salisbury and the hospital where DS Bailey is receiving treatment.

Mr Skripal served four years of a 13 year sentence in Russian Federation after he was caught spying for MI6 and was released as part of a spy exchange in 2010, then given refuge in the UK.

Military vehicles arrived at Salisbury District Hospital, where the victims are being treated, to take away a police auto.

"I say to governments around the world that no attempt to take innocent life on U.K. soil will go either unsanctioned or unpunished", U.K. Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said.

Russian media have mocked suggestions of Moscow involvement in the Skripal attack - but also noted that those who betray Russia seem to come to a bad end. Officers were guarding the area where he and his daughter were found, along with a pizza restaurant and a pub they had visited.

In parliament, several lawmakers defied interior minister Amber Rudd's plea to avoid speculation about who was responsible for the "brazen and reckless act".

"Alcoholism, drug addiction, stress and depression are inevitable professional illnesses of a traitor resulting in heart attacks and even suicide", Kleimenov said. In 2010, President Dmitry Medvedev pardoned him, after which, in the framework of exchange of spies with the USA, he was sent to the United Kingdom, where he was granted asylum.

Skripal's daughter is thought to be one of the few members of his immediate family still alive after his wife, Lyudmila, and son Alexander died in recent years.

Skripal served with Russia's military intelligence, often known by its Russian-language acronym GRU, and retired in 1999.

Salisbury's MP, John Glen, and Wiltshire Police's Chief Constable Kier Preitchard have both spoken on this issue. however neither were able to give any clear indication on how long the 'heightened' state of security will last.

The incident is drawing comparisons to the case of Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian KGB officer-turned-British intelligence agent and a highly public critic of President Vladimir Putin.

Marina Litvinenko said Russians living in the United Kingdom feel "insecure and very unsafe" and that the United Kingdom government should do more to protect those who have claimed political asylum. The conclusion was angrily dismissed by the Kremlin as a politically motivated smear.

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