Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

United Kingdom police hunt culprit in Russian spy's poisoning

Sergei Skripal in court.     EPA-EFE Sergei Skripal in court. EPA-EFE
Faye Gross | 10 March, 2018, 01:21

They, and a British police officer who attempted to help them, remain hospitalized.

Assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, head of counter terrorism policing at the Metropolitan Police, says scientists have identified the substance used. But British media wasted no time in blaming Russian Federation for the incident. Although there is no evidence of a widespread health hazard to the public, the local authorities have closed a restaurant temporarily as a precautionary measure. The source also said it was likely to be rarer than sarin, made infamous by its recent use by government forces to attack rebels in Syria.

All nerve agents work in a similar way, by binding to cholinesterase enzymes and preventing them hydrolysing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, shutting down thecentral nervous system.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain critically ill after being found unconscious in Salisbury this week.

"Sensitive Site Exploitation" will look for any further traces of the nerve agent.

Prime Minister Theresa May echoed the sentiment, saying the events served as a "stark reminder" of the dangers faced by emergency staff.

The Home Secretary threatened a "robust" response to the "brazen and reckless act" committed on United Kingdom soil. "But if we are to be rigorous in this investigation, we must avoid speculation and allow the police to carry on their investigation".

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Thursday the government will retaliate with "appropriate" measures if Russian Federation is proved to be behind the attack.

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"We are committed to doing all we can to bring the perpetrators to justice - whoever they are and wherever they may be".

Skripal, who passed the identity of dozens of spies to the MI6 foreign intelligence agency, was given refuge in Britain after being exchanged in 2010 for Russian spies caught in the West as part of a Cold War-style spy swap at Vienna airport.

Johnson has been criticised over his response to the apparent poisoning of Sergei Skripal on Sunday, after he appeared to suggest England could pull out of this summer's World Cup. He later admitted that in 1995 he was recruited by the British secret services.

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.

But proving Russian government involvement is another matter.

Johnson told Parliament on March 6 that Britain might step up sanctions against Russian Federation if it finds that Moscow was involved.

Britain has deployed specialist troops to remove potentially contaminated objects from the English city where a Russian former double agent and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent. "I want to point out that the inquest into the death of Litvinenko that was put on Russian Federation, has not been completed, as the trial that was referred to as a public one, was actually held behind closed doors and in a weird way, and numerous facts that were revealed during the trial never came to light".

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