Amber Rudd to chair Cobra meeting over poisoning of Russian spy

by Abel Hampton March 11, 2018, 1:02
Amber Rudd to chair Cobra meeting over poisoning of Russian spy

A police auto is transported in a convoy of police and military vehicles leaving Salisbury District Hospital over contamination fears. "We will respond in a robust and appropriate manner once we ascertain who was responsible", Rudd said.

The British government deployed the military Friday to help with its probe of the mysterious nerve-agent poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter - an apparent assassination attempt that also left 19 others seeking medical treatment.

The Skripals remain remain in a critical condition in hospital five days after the attack when they were found slumped on a bench at a shopping centre in the city, some 80 miles southwest of London.

About 180 troops have been brought in to help remove vehicles and potentially-contaminated objects around the crime scene due to their specialist knowledge, said police.

In Salisbury, police widened their searches to places frequented by Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter.

"This was attempted murder in the most cruel and public way".

Home Secretary Amber Rudd will chair a meeting of the Government's Cobra committee at 3pm on Saturday to receive updates on the police case, Downing Street said.

The military have been drafted in as part of the investigation (Picture: Getty) Police have said that military assistance will continue as long as is necessary.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia would consider helping in the death of Sergei Skripal if asked.

A police tent covers a grave believed to be that of a relative of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury Crematorium in Britain on March 9.

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.

Noting it was "highly likely" that the officer, Bailey, was exposed to the same nerve agent as the Russian pair, she said Britain "will act without hesitation as the facts become clearer".

Police sergeant Nick Bailey, 38, is also in a serious condition.

Moscow has reacted angrily to the accusations it was involved, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday dismissing them as baseless "propaganda".

The cause is unclear: Some reports say he died in a vehicle accident while on holiday in Russian Federation, others that he died of liver failure.

"But let's give the police the time and space to actually conduct their investigation", she added, in her first comments on the attack since police said on Wednesday a nerve agent was used.

The British police and government have so far not publicly identified the suspect behind the attack but plans are being drawn up if the Kremlin is implicated in the attack.

On Friday, John Glen, a member of Parliament for Salisbury, praised the calm response of the city's residents to "an unprecedented occurrence in our country's history" but acknowledged that some were demanding "decisive action".

A British public inquiry found the killing of Litvinenko had probably been approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin and carried out by two Russians, Dmitry Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoy.

"You can not tolerate a government assassination on British soil - it is absolutely beyond the pale and needs a reaction", he said.

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