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UK Police Expand Probe Of Ex-Spy's Poisoning After 21 Treated

UK Police Expand Probe Of Ex-Spy's Poisoning After 21 Treated

Personnel from the Royal Air Force, British Army and Royal Navy were among those sent to Salisbury on Friday, a Defence Ministry spokesman told CNN on Friday.

Among the injured are a detective sergeant, Nick Bailey, who remains in a serious but stable condition.

"But let's give the police the time and space to actually conduct their investigation", she added, in her first comments on the attack since police said on Wednesday a nerve agent was used.

Noting it was "highly likely" that the officer, Bailey, was exposed to the same nerve agent as the Russian pair, she said Britain "will act without hesitation as the facts become clearer".

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

The developments in the investigation came as Amber Rudd, the British home secretary, visited the city and was briefed by police and medical staff about the incident. He was freed in 2010 as part of a widely-publicized spy swap in which the USA agreed to hand over 10 members of a Russian sleeper cell found operating in America in return for four Russians convicted of spying for the West. The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the incident and says anti-Russian hysteria is being whipped up by the British media.

The former diplomat, who served in Moscow between 1995 and 2000, told the paper: "If it is true that this is, in some fashion, the Russian state, it obviously makes it even harder to believe the Russian state is worth anything or is to be trusted".

Two years ago, a public inquiry in London concluded there was a "strong probability" Russia's security service, the FSB, was behind the fatal 2006 poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, a dissident and Russian KGB officer-turned-British intelligence agent.

Officers were guarding the area where he and his daughter were found, along with a pizza restaurant and a pub they had visited and the graves of Skripal's wife and son. They said experts had identified the substance, which will help determine the source, but have not yet disclosed to the public what it was.

More news: Nor'easter kills 3; another storm could hit Monday

Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Blair said the "extraordinary attack in Salisbury" is a good reason to investigate whether there is a pattern of former British intelligence collaborators dying in the UK.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed Britain's warnings of retaliation were propaganda and not serious.

Meanwhile, Russia's foreign minister said his country might be willing to help with this investigation, but expressed resentment at suggestions Moscow was behind the attack on Sergei Skripal.

A BuzzFeed News investigation claimed USA spy agencies have linked 14 deaths to Russian Federation, but United Kingdom police shut down the cases.

However, he said, "there are not 101 likely offenders", apparently a reference to the difficulty in producing nerve agent, which would limit the number of suspects with the ability to carry out the attack.

Lavrov said Russian Federation is "willing to consider any option" to raise the representation of developing countries at the Security Council, noting that the developed countries are not under-represented at the council.

Police said Skripal and his daughter were deliberately targeted with the rare toxin.

A public inquiry found that Russian Federation was responsible for killing Alexander Litvinenko, and that President Vladimir Putin probably approved it.

The Kremlin, which denies any involvement, says it resents the finger-pointing and suspicions that Russian Federation played a role.


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