Russian ex-spy, daughter still critical after nerve agent attack

Home Secretary Amber Rudd updated MPs on the latest steps in the investigation in the Commons today

Almost 200 troops from the British Army, the Royal Air Force, and the Royal Marines were deployed on Friday to remove contaminated items from the shopping mall in Salisbury, England, where ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulina were poisoned by a nerve agent.

Nick Bailey, one of the first officers on the scene, is also being treated but is sitting up and talking after initially being admitted to intensive care.

The attack has been likened to the assassination of former 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. The 66-year-old former agent had been living quietly in Salisbury, 140 kilometres southwest of London.

Counterterrorism detectives are leading the investigation.

Scotland Yard requested specialist help to remove vehicles and objects from scenes across the city amid fears of contamination. Military vehicles arrived at Salisbury District Hospital, where the victims are being treated, to take away a police auto.

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

British authorities have deployed members of the military to assist police in their investigation of the ex-Russian spy was attacked with a nerve agent.

Detectives are retracing the Skripals' movements as they try to discover how and where the toxin was administered.

Authorities cordoned off Skripal's house, a auto, a restaurant, a pub and the cemetery where Skripal's wife, Lyudmila, is buried and where there is also a memorial headstone for his son, Alexander.

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The grave of Skripal's wife, Liudmila, who died in 2012 from cancer, was also sealed off. Alexander died past year at the age of 43. British media reported that he died while in St Petersburg, Russia.

At the graveyard, forensic officers in protective gear could be seen erecting a blue tent on Friday.

Britain was to hold a second meeting of its national emergencies committee on Saturday in response to a nerve agent attack on a Russian former spy. "There may be some clues floating around in here".

Nerve agents are highly toxic chemicals that can kill people in minutes and are extremely hard to make.

"A well-equipped lab and a very experienced analytical chemist can do it, but it's not the sort of thing a chancer doing kitchen-sink chemistry can get away with", chemical weapons expert Richard Guthrie said.

The Times newspaper said British officials were talking to their United States and European counterparts about a co-ordinated retaliation, which could include "diplomatic, economic and military measures" if Moscow was behind the attack.

"We're accused not only of this, but we are accused of everything that goes wrong on this planet, according to our Western partners", Lavrov said. "Military assistance will continue as necessary during this investigation".

Lavrov has been quoted as saying by state news agency Tass that "whether it's poisoning of some British subjects, whether it's rumors about interference in the USA election campaign, if assistance really is needed, then we are ready to consider its possibility".

The U.K. has vowed to take strong action against whoever was responsible for the "brazen and reckless" attack. But suspicions are pointing to Russian Federation.

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