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.
- This isn't the first such case. Former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko was killed with radioactive polonium in London in 2006, and Buzzfeed has done an in-depth investigation on 14 Russia-linked deaths in the U.K.