Skripals first poisoned with nerve agent at home, UK police say

Detectives with London's Metropolitan Police said Wednesday they believe former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal a...

Posted: Mar 29, 2018 12:59 PM
Updated: Mar 29, 2018 12:59 PM

Detectives with London's Metropolitan Police said Wednesday they believe former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter first came into contact with a nerve agent at Sergei Skripal's home, and police have identified the highest concentration of the nerve agent to date as being on the home's front door.

The pair were poisoned March 4 after being exposed to what British police believe was a military-grade nerve agent. They are hospitalized in critical condition.

Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found slumped on a bench in an outdoor shopping complex in Salisbury, England. They had no visible injuries, according to police.

They were near a number of restaurants, one of which was closed as part of the initial investigation.

Detectives now plan to focus their investigation around Sergei Skripal's Salisbury home for the coming weeks and possibly months, the Met Police said. Yulia Skripal was visiting her father.

Police also plan to search the surrounding area.

"Those living in the Skripals' neighborhood can expect to see officers carrying out searches as part of this, but I want to reassure them that the risk remains low and our searches are precautionary," Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon said in a statement.

Around 250 counterterrorism detectives are working around the clock on the investigation, the Met Police said, adding it is one of the largest and most complex investigations undertaken by British counterterrorism police.

Officers are examining more than 5,000 hours of closed-circuit television and more than 1,350 seized items, police said. They have identified around 500 witnesses and taken hundreds of statements.

Detectives have found traces of the nerve agent at other scenes in the past few weeks but at lower concentrations than at the home address, the Met Police said.

Diplomatic fallout

The UK has expelled 23 Russian diplomats over the poisoning of the Skripals, which it blames on Moscow. Russia denies it was involved and has suggested the UK could be behind it.

In a show of support for Britain, more than 20 other countries have kicked out Russian diplomats. Those countries include the United States, Canada, Australia and 18 European Union states.

In a speech Wednesday evening, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson thanked the countries "from the bottom of my heart" for standing with Britain, saying they did it despite the risk of retaliation.

"I believe that these expulsions represent a moment when a feeling has suddenly crystallized, when years of vexation and provocation have worn collective patience to (the) breaking point, and when across the world -- across three continents -- there are countries who are willing to say enough is enough," Johnson said at an annual gathering of the diplomatic corps in London.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the United States pressured and blackmailed other countries to expel Russian diplomats.

Moscow has already responded by expelling 23 British diplomats and shuttering British cultural institutions in Russia. Tuesday, Lavrov warned of further retaliation, saying, "Rest assured, we will respond," according to state media.

Russia's ambassador to Australia called the expulsions "unfair."

"It's rather like the beginning of 'Crime and Punishment,'" Johnson said. "We're all confident of the culprit, and the only question is whether he will first confess or be caught."

The Skripals 'may never fully recover'

According to the UK, the Skripals were exposed to a Soviet-era nerve agent known as Novichok, a colorless, odorless and tasteless liquid described as one of the world's most sophisticated and deadly chemical weapons.

While British officials have said they believe the public health risk is low, Prime Minister Theresa May has also said more than 130 people in Salisbury could have been exposed to the nerve agent.

May said Monday that doctors have indicated the Skripals may never fully recover.

"This shows the utterly barbaric nature of this act and the dangers that hundreds of innocent citizens in Salisbury could have faced," May said.

Johnson said Wednesday that the Kremlin underestimated the global response to the poisoning.

"If they thought that the world had become so hardened and so cynical as not to care about the use of chemical weapons in a place like Salisbury," he said, "if they believed that no one would give a fig about the suffering of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, or that we would be indifferent to the reckless and contemptuous disregard for public safety ... then this is their answer."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
St. Joseph42122590
Elkhart33803491
Vanderburgh30574449
Tippecanoe26915251
Johnson23727418
Hendricks22410342
Porter21832347
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Madison17492385
Vigo16302285
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Delaware14183222
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Hancock10935166
Warrick10737178
Bartholomew10635170
Floyd10514208
Wayne10077226
Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
Dubois7791123
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Henry7691133
Noble7466101
Marshall7409128
Cass7219118
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Jackson661386
Gibson6190107
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Blackford170534
Pulaski168551
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Newton145845
Benton143916
Brown135846
Martin130217
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Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
Unassigned0482

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1380370

Reported Deaths: 21820
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1534461574
Cuyahoga1354332341
Hamilton984041326
Montgomery677001161
Summit566391051
Lucas51349869
Butler47858663
Stark42048983
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Delaware22501147
Licking20701246
Fairfield20658223
Greene20527275
Trumbull20127516
Medina20006290
Clark18086332
Richland16602236
Portage16305231
Wood15869209
Allen14257261
Miami13963261
Muskingum12858155
Wayne12126244
Columbiana11896242
Tuscarawas11103271
Marion10865150
Pickaway10580129
Scioto10477127
Erie9822171
Ross9566177
Lawrence8886125
Hancock8567143
Ashtabula8423187
Geauga8226156
Belmont8221188
Jefferson7635175
Huron7507131
Union740751
Washington7334126
Athens705965
Sandusky6925135
Darke6853137
Knox6762122
Seneca6496137
Ashland6035115
Auglaize593188
Shelby5796104
Brown572972
Mercer563690
Defiance5538101
Crawford5530117
Madison549371
Highland548082
Fulton539583
Clinton532081
Logan516987
Preble5058111
Putnam4876107
Guernsey480664
Williams466482
Perry459054
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Ottawa441384
Jackson432963
Pike397045
Morrow393851
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Fayette381753
Adams366875
Hardin363970
Gallia352858
Holmes3297111
Henry328869
Van Wert318871
Hocking308070
Wyandot284558
Carroll265452
Paulding245143
Meigs220242
Monroe191949
Noble172942
Morgan169429
Harrison160041
Vinton140619
Unassigned05
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