Probe into Skripal poisoning follows Litvinenko script - Russia's embassy

Former Russian spy poisoned by nerve agent

Britain warned Russian Federation on Tuesday of a robust response if the Kremlin was behind a mysterious illness that has struck down a former double agent convicted of betraying dozens of spies to British intelligence. oreign Secretary Boris Johnson named Sergei Skripal, once a colonel in Russia's GRU military intelligence service, and his daughter Yulia as the two people who were found unconscious on Sunday on a bench outside a shopping centre in southern England.

Skripal, 66, was convicted of passing secrets to the British intelligence service MI6, but was given refuge in the United Kingdom in 2010 as part of a "spy swap".

British home secretary Amber Rudd visits the scene where Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found after having been poisoned by a nerve agent in Salisbury, Britain, on March 9, 2018. Moscow has denied involvement and asserted that anti-Russian hysteria is being whipped up by the British media.

"This is being treated as a major incident involving attempted murder by administration of a nerve agent", said Mark Rowley, head of the Metropolitan Police counterterror force.

Police said the pair was deliberately targeted with the rare toxin.

Nerve agents are highly toxic chemicals that resist the functioning of the nervous system and can be fatal.

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Sergeant Nick Bailey, one of first officers to find the pair slumped on a bench outside a shopping centre and who was later hospitalised in intensive care, was sitting up and talking on Thursday, according to police. Officials did not immediately explain how the others might have been exposed to the substance.

Authorities said the public should not be alarmed and there is no evidence to suggest it is a wide-spread health risk.

Ms Rudd said: "At the moment our priority is going to be the incident, which is why I'm here in Salisbury today, making sure that everybody's protected around the incident, making sure the emergency services have had the support that they need and will continue to get it".

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.

"But if we are to be rigorous in this investigation, we must avoid speculation and allow the police to carry on their investigation".

"I can reassure the House that, should evidence emerge that implies state responsibility, then Her Majesty's government will respond appropriately and robustly", Johnson said on Tuesday in an urgent question session at the House of Commons.

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Skripal, who was shown wearing a track suit in a cage in court during his sentencing, was jailed for 13 years in 2006.

The dispute regarding the allegiance of Skirpal has raised the concerns that the spy might be working for both the Russian and British intelligence services as a double agent.

A similar incident took place in 2006 when an FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in with a radioactive cup of tea.

President Vladimir Putin has yet to respond to the news that nerve agent was involved in the poisoning.

A public inquiry found that Russian Federation was responsible for killing Alexander Litvinenko, and that President Vladimir Putin probably approved it. Russian Federation has denied involvement. He also suggested that Britain could reconsider the participation of its officials in the soccer World Cup in Russian Federation this summer.

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter collapsed from nerve-agent poisoning on Monday.

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"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".

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