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United Kingdom mulls response, steps up search in Russian Federation spy mystery
11 March 2018, 01:06 | Floyd Cook
Theresa May branded an attempt to kill a Russian double agent with a nerve agent an'appalling and reckless crime
The military has been brought in to remove vehicles and objects from Skripal's home as they have "the expertise and capability to respond to a range of contingencies", Scotland Yard said.
Sergei Skripal, 66, who passed Russian secrets to Britain, and his daughter Yulia, 33, have been in intensive care since they were found slumped unconscious on a bench on Sunday afternoon in the quiet cathedral city of Salisbury.
It has sparked British outcry after a policeman was also left in a serious condition, with 22 people requiring treatment.
Skripal and his daughter were attacked with a nerve agent March 4.
They are in a critical but stable condition in Salisbury District Hospital.
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.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said Britain will react with the appropriate response if a state was found to be behind the murder attempt.
In Salisbury, the investigation continued to move at a fast pace.
"We are accused of everything bad that happens in the world by our Western partners", Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, said at a news conference Friday.
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.
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".
Former London Police Chief Ian Blair said Friday that the police officer who is seriously ill had visited Skripal's house - suggesting that the nerve agent was delivered there.
Police have not revealed what nerve agent was involved.
Authorities are racing to find the source of the nerve agent used against 66-year-old Skripal, who came to Britain in 2010 as part of a spy swap, as politicians warned it bore the hallmarks of an attack by Russian Federation.
Police said 21 people had been seen for medical treatment in the aftermath of the incident, but only three people were being treated.
According to previous reports by Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti, Skripal had spied for Britain as an intelligence officer during the 1990s and he had continued to communicate with British foreign intelligence agency MI6 after his retirement in 1999.
A British public inquiry said Litvinenko's murder had probably been approved by Putin and carried out by two Russians, Dmitry Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoy.
Local convenience store manager Ebru Ozturk, who saw Skripal at his shop just days before the incident, told CNN that he was a "kind customer" who would usually come in once a week and buy Polish-smoked bacon and scratch-and-win lottery cards.
The attack has been likened in Britain to the assassination of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who died in London in 2006 after drinking green tea laced with radioactive polonium-210.
In response to questions over Russia's possible involvement, May has said that "if action needs to be taken then the government will do that".
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