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Scotland Yard: Russian double agent poisoned with nerve agent

Police in Salisbury.
Police in Salisbury. Photo: Matt Cardy / Getty Images

Investigators now believe that a nerve agent was used to poison a former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter in the English town of Salisbury on Sunday. Both victims remain in critical condition, as is a police officer who was on scene. Anti-terror police are treating the case as attempted murder.

Between the lines: Suspicion has, naturally, fallen on Russia (Vladimir Putin, himself a former intelligence officer, has vowed publicly that traitors will be killed) and the nature of the poison further indicates a state may be responsible. Moscow denies involvement.

Skripal was convicted in 2006 of betraying the identities of Russian intelligence agents working undercover in Europe to MI6, Britain’s intelligence service. He had been living in the U.K. since being freed in a U.S.-Russian prisoner swap in 2010. A number of Russians have previously died under suspicious circumstances in the U.K.

What they're saying: Russia's Embassy in the UK released a statement Wednesday raising questions over the U.K. government response to Skripal's illness — Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said the UK will respond robustly if the Russian government is found to have been involved.

Go deeper: Suspicions of poison and warnings to Russia over double agent's illness.

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