Spy poisoning: Military deployed in Salisbury as police investigate graveyard

Salisbury Spy Maltings Hasmat Team

Counterterrorism police requested the deployment of military personnel to help "remove a number of vehicles and objects" in Salisbury, London's Metropolitan Police said.

Mr Seely, who is also a former Soviet Union reporter for The Times, said the investigation needs to be balanced and facts need to be established before fingers are pointed.

British police have identified over 200 witnesses and are looking at more than 240 pieces of evidence in their investigation into a nerve agent attack on a Russian ex-spy and his daughter, the interior minister says.

Detective Sgt. Nick Bailey, a policeman who also fell ill, is in serious condition, but is "conversing and engaging" with visitors, Rudd added.

About 180 military specialists were sent to Salisbury to help with the removal of items potentially contaminated by the nerve agent.

Forensic experts in bright yellow hazardous-materials suits have cordoned off the home of Sergei Skripal, who along with his daughter, Yulia, 33, were found unconscious Sunday on a bench outside a shopping mall.

"This was attempted murder in the most cruel and public way".

The military have been drafted in as part of the investigation (Picture: Getty) Police have said that military assistance will continue as long as is necessary.

The Times newspaper said British officials were talking to their U.S. and European counterparts about a co-ordinated retaliation, which could include "diplomatic, economic and military measures" if Moscow was behind the attack.

Police turned their attention on Friday to the cemetery where the 66-year-old Russian's wife and son were laid to rest.

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Skripal was jailed in Russian Federation in 2006 for selling state secrets to the British intelligence services but was released in 2010 as part of a high-profile spy swap.

The investigation into the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in the United Kingdom has broadened as police revealed that 21 people had received medical attention in the aftermath of the incident.

On Saturday screens and tents were erected across the area as troops removed vehicles linked to the poisoning to test for deadly nerve agents.

Moscow has reacted angrily to the accusations it was involved, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday dismissing them as baseless "propaganda".

Earlier this week, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in London described comments by UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson - who vowed a "robust response" in the event that state involvement was proved - as "strongly anti-Russian".

The British police and government have so far not publicly identified the suspect behind the attack but plans are being drawn up if the Kremlin is implicated in the attack.

British police extended their search for those behind a nerve agent attack on a former Russian double agent as speculation mounted Friday about how London could respond if a state actor were to blame.

Local convenience store manager Ebru Ozturk, who saw Skripal at his shop just days before the incident, told CNN that he was a "kind customer" who would usually come in once a week and buy Polish-smoked bacon and scratch-and-win lottery cards.

A British public inquiry found Russia was responsible for Litvinenko's killing, and Russian President Vladimir Putin probably approved it. "If you really need help from Russian Federation, then we will be ready to consider such a possibility, if we do have relevant data", he said, speaking in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


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