Amber Rudd to chair Cobra meeting over poisoning of Russian spy

  • Amber Rudd to chair Cobra meeting over poisoning of Russian spy

Amber Rudd to chair Cobra meeting over poisoning of Russian spy

The military was asked to help as they have "the necessary capability and expertise".

For experts in chemical, biological and nuclear warfare, even seemingly simple tasks are complex and unsafe.

Dozens of khaki-clad troops trained in chemical warfare were deployed on the streets of the usually sleepy English city of Salisbury on Friday as part of the investigation into the nerve-agent poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter.

The police have dismissed the media reports on exhumation to Sputnik, while the Russian Justice Ministry, responsible for issuing authorization for such procedures, confirmed that it did not grant any licenses for exhumation. Researchers have also speculated the substance came from a state laboratory.

Fellow Conservative MP Nick Boles tweeted that "I do not see how we can maintain diplomatic relations with a country that tries to murder people on British soil". "This is a terrible incident and my thoughts remain with the victims and their families".

Those branded enemies of the Russian state have sometimes died mysteriously overseas, and the Skripal case echoes the death of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian agent who was poisoned in London in 2006 with radioactive polonium-210.

Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who visited Salisbury on Friday, said they were both still in a very serious condition, five days after collapsing.

"The public should not be alarmed", counter-terrorism police, who are leading the investigation, said in a statement.

Nerve agents are highly toxic chemicals that disrupt the nervous system and shut down bodily functions. "We are putting in enormous resources to ensure that they have all the support that they need to do that".

"If action needs to be taken, then the government will do that", British Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged.

Police have said they know what nerve agent used in the attack but have declined to name it or how they suspect it was administered.

Officers in hazmat suits were sent to Salisbury's London Road cemetery, where a tent was erected over the memorial to Mr Skripal's son Alexander, who was cremated past year.

They are located at separate sites in the London Road Cemetery with each guarded by a police officer.

Skripal's wife, Lyudmila, 59, died in 2012 of uterine cancer, according to records from the National Health Service. It has denied any involvement in Litvenko's death or the attempt on the Skripals' lives.

Mr Skripal's wife passed away in the United Kingdom but Alexander and Valeri died in Russian Federation and any fresh probe into the circumstances will need the cooperation of the authorities in Moscow.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa on Friday, Lavrov said Russian officials had not received a single fact or piece of concrete evidence about what had happened to Skripal and his daughter.

The former double agent may have become a target after using his contacts in the intelligence community to work for private security firms, investigators believe.