Litvinenko's widow says Britain is unsafe asylum for Russians

10 March, 2018, 03:11 | Author: Stuart Potter
  • Sergei Skripal in court.     EPA-EFE

During the attempted poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in the British city of Salisbury, injured 20 people, including the daughter of Yulia Skripal and Sergeant nick Bailey.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has said the Armed Forces have "stepped up to support the police" in the investigation into a "dreadful incident".

Counterterrorism police, who are leading the investigation, said in a March 9 statement, "The public should not be alarmed", adding, "military assistance will continue as necessary during this investigation".

The graves of Mr Skripal's wife and son at a Salisbury cemetery have also been taped off.

Skripal and his daughter visited a pub and a restaurant in Salisbury on Sunday before they were found near a shopping centre.

Detectives are retracing the movements of Sergei and Yulia Skripal as they try to discover how the toxin was administered and where it was manufactured.

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

Police haven't provided details on the nerve agent that was used, and the ex-spy and his daughter remain in critical condition.

Prime Minister Theresa May said that "if action needs to be taken then the government will do that", but urged "time and space" for the police to conduct their investigation. The military was asked to help as they have "the necessary capability and expertise".

"There may be some clues floating around in here", Blair said.

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Skripal was arrested in December 2004 by Federal Security Service agents on suspicion of treason: passing secrets to Britain's MI6 intelligence agency. He was released in 2010 and was moved to U.K.as part of a 10-person spy swap.

But the attempted murder of Skripal has drawn comparisons to the 2006 assassination of another Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who ingested the rare and highly radioactive polonium 210 in London.

Britain has said it will respond robustly if evidence shows Russian Federation was behind the attempted murder.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the incident and said anti-Russian hysteria was being whipped up by the British media.

Britain's chief medical officer, Sally Davies, said on March 8 that the general public was not necessarily at high risk, but experts said nerve agents are unsafe and extremely volatile. "But the British government has remained extremely firm on sanctions and on a relatively anti-Russian position".

Rudd on March 8 told parliament that the use of a nerve agent on British soil "is a brazen and reckless act" but that Britons must avoid speculating on who was behind it.

"In terms of further options, that will have to wait until we're absolutely clear what the consequences could be, and what the actual source of this nerve agent has been", Rudd said after visiting Salisbury and seeing the area around the bench where Skripal was found, now covered by a police forensics tent.

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

Speaking to reporters during a visit to Ethiopia, Lavrov said Russian officials have seen no concrete evidence or "facts" about what happened to Skripal and his daughter.

"What we see is only news reports. saying that if it is Russian Federation, then a response is going to be given that Russian Federation is going to remember forever", Mr Lavrov said during a visit to Addis Ababa.

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