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Russian spy Skripal poisoned at home?

March 28, 2018

Police say the former Russian spy and his daughter came into contact with a nerve agent at their home in Britain. London holds Russia responsible for the poisoning, which has raised tensions between the two nations.

Investigators work in the garden of Sergei Skripal's house in Salisbury, southern England
Image: Getty Images/AFP/G. Caddick

On Wednesday, UK police said the former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter may have been exposed to a military-grade nerve agent at the front door of their home.

"Specialists have identified the highest concentration of the nerve agent, to-date, as being on the front door of the address," Scotland Yard said in a statement.

"At this point in our investigation, we believe the Skripals first came into contact with the nerve agent from their front door," said Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command. "We are therefore focusing much of our efforts in and around their address."

Read moreWhy are Russia and the West allowed to spy each other?

This is the first time police have offered any suggestion about where the Skripals were poisoned.

Britain holds Russia responsible for the poisoning — a charge that Moscow denies. The attack has created another major crisis in relations between Moscow and Western governments, which have expelled scores of Russian diplomats.

Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia have been in a critical condition since March 4 when they were found unconscious on a public bench in the English city of Salisbury.

Investigators sealed off the public bench, a pub and restaurant the two visited, and the grave of the former spy's wife.

Read moreEU majority stands with United Kingdom in its fight with Russia

'Precautionary searches'

Police say the investigations could go on for months. Around 500 witnesses have been identified and police are looking through more than 5,000 hours of surveillance camera footage.

"Those living in the Skripals' neighbourhood 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," Haydon said.

ap/bw (Reuters, AFP)

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