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Britain Deploys Specialists To Investigate Poisoning Of Russian Double Agent

10 March 2018

Royal Marines from 40 Commando have also just completed the UK's biggest chemical warfare exercise - called Toxic Dagger - involving 300 personnel and including scientists from Porton Down. She said Britain would respond strongly when it is clear who's to blame.

But they are yet to name it publicly.

'Military assistance will continue as necessary during this investigation'.

Mr Skripal, 66, remains critically ill in Salisbury hospital after he was found slumped unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, following exposure to an unknown substance on Sunday.

They, and a British police officer who attempted to help them, remain hospitalized.

British authorities have not disclosed what nerve agent was involved. Sgt. Nick Bailey fell ill after visiting Skripal's home, "whereas there was a doctor who looked after the patients in the open" who had not been affected.

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Speaking after meeting Wiltshire Police Temporary Chief Constable Kier Pritchard in Salisbury, Ms Rudd said: "Still very serious for the two people who were indeed the subject of this outrageous attack and for the police officer, I understand it's still serious, although he's still conversing and engaging".

The Salisbury attack indicates the use of sophisticated chemistry in production of the nerve agent, suggesting the involvement of a state actor, experts said.

The home secretary would not reveal any further details about the substance or how it was administered.

Mary Dejevsky, a former foreign correspondent, said she was shocked at "how far people have gone in implicating Russian Federation before there is the slightest bit of proof".

"There will be a time to have answers", Rudd said, adding police should be allowed the "space they need to go through the area carefully".

Earlier this year, British government ministers announced they meant to target rich Russians in Britain who couldn't prove where their money came from, and they announced new asset-seizure powers known as unexplained wealth orders. 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.

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Britain's top counter-terrorism officer, Mark Rowley, said Skripal had been exposed to a nerve agent.

Wiltshire County police say that "around 21 people", including the Skripals, have received treatment following the attack.

The figure includes members of the public and emergency staff, some of whom have had blood tests as well as receiving support and advice. The ex-spy and his daughter remain in critical condition.

His wife Liudmila died on October 23, 2012 of cancer at the age of 60, according to British media. If anyone is concerned about their health or displaying symptoms which give any cause for concern, they should dial 111 or 999 depending on the severity of their symptoms.

On Thursday, police cautioned more sites in Salisbury, including the grave sites of Skripal's wife and son who died in 2012 and 2017. "It is very rare that those who choose it live out their days in peace and serenity", he said. He described seeing around 10 people in hazmat suits looking at the vehicle, which was said to be a Mercedes people carrier. In 2006, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison, and pardoned in 2010 and gave U.S. in exchange for there exposed Russian agents.

He had been convicted in his home country in 2006 for passing state secrets to MI6.

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The poisoning attack has drawn comparisons with the case of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with polonium at a London hotel in 2006. Prime Minister Theresa May was briefed at a meeting of the National Security Council on the investigation into the incident, her spokesman said without elaborating.

Britain Deploys Specialists To Investigate Poisoning Of Russian Double Agent