The British police suspect that ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter have been the victim of an attempted murder with nerve gas.
“We think that the two people who initially became unwell were the target,” police officer Mark Rowley confirmed. He did not go into detail about which nerve gas was used and how the drug was administered.
The research in Salisbury may take a few days. According to Rowley, ” hundreds of detectives, forensic specialists, analysts and intelligence staff ” work around the clock.
The 66-year-old Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter Joelia were found unconscious Sunday night at a shopping center in Salisbury, 20 kilometers from Amesbury. They are still in a critical condition in the hospital.
The police have not yet released the spot where the duo was found. Also a pub and restaurant visited by them are sealed off.
A source within the US intelligence services said the British are investigating whether Russians have retaliated against the ex-spy. Skripal used to be a colonel with the Russian military intelligence service GROE. He would have betrayed dozens of Russian spies to London.
The Russian authorities arrested Skripal in 2004. He got 13 years in prison after a secret trial. The alleged double spy ended up in the United Kingdom in 2010 after an exchange of spies between Russia and the US.
The British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, warned that “no attempt to rob innocent people in this country would go unpunished,” and thought aloud about a boycott of the World Cup in Russia, which is taking place this year.
The Kremlin denies any involvement in the poisoning of Skripal.