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UK: Ex Russian spy, daughter in 'serious condition'

10 March 2018

Two military lorries were at the hospital while 180 military personnel were assisting the investigation into the attempted murder of the Russian former spy and his daughter Yulia.

Dozens of khaki-clad troops trained in chemical warfare were deployed on the streets of the usually sleepy English city of Salisbury on Friday as part of the investigation into the nerve-agent poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter.

Det Sgt Nick Bailey - who attended the scene on Sunday - is conscious but "very anxious" about being exposed to a nerve agent.

According to local police chief Kier Pritchard, "around 21 people" have received treatment following the attack.

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, when he was given refuge in the UK.

Hundreds of investigators, led by counter-terror police, are working to find out who is responsible for what is feared to be a sophisticated plot amid heightened tensions between Britain and Russian Federation.

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British police now say a total of roughly 21 people have sought treatment after a nerve agent was used to attack and ex-Russian spy and his daughter. "It is very rare that those who choose it live out their days in peace and serenity", he said.

The graves of Mr Skripal's wife and son at a Salisbury cemetery have also been taped off. But British health authorities say there is little risk to the wider public.

Sergey Lavrov's comments in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa came as British investigators scrambled to unravel the nerve-agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter. He told a British parliamentary panel approximately $800 billion worth of Russian state-backed assets, mostly real estate, are held outside Russia and could be targeted. "It's not serious, it's propaganda at its finest and pressing hysteria", said the foreign minister, who was speaking at a press conference alongside his Ethiopian counterpart, Workneh Gebeyehu.

"As both the Prime Minister and Home Secretary have said, if a state actor is found to be responsible, there will be an appropriate response".

Vladimir Putin, the president, made veiled threats against Russians who spied for foreign powers in 2010 and follows the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, using radioactive material slipped into his tea in 2006.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow was "ready to consider" lending a hand in any investigation, "whether it's [about] poisoning of some British subjects, whether it's rumors about interference in the USA election campaign".

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The nerve gas used in the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia are likely to have been supplied by a state, researchers say.

Rudd says the attack is an "outrageous crime" and a "brazen and reckless act" but cautions it is too early to say who was behind it. The pair were found unconscious on a bench in the city of Salisbury on Sunday. Moscow claimed that he had revealed his identity to the British foreign intelligence service - MI6 - in exchange of pecuniary and other benefits. He described seeing around 10 people in hazmat suits looking at the vehicle, which was said to be a Mercedes people carrier.

"If someone wants us to engage in an investigation, be that on the poisoning of the United Kingdom subject or the rumours about alleged interference in the electoral campaign of the U.S., if you really need our assistance, then we will be willing to contemplate this possibility if we have the necessary data and facts".

A Downing Street spokesman declined to comment on what sanctions might be taken against Russian Federation if it was shown to be responsible for the Salisbury attack.

Skripal has been living in Britain since 2010, when he was part of a prisoner exchange for 10 Russian spies arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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UK: Ex Russian spy, daughter in 'serious condition'