Ex-Russian spy drama: what we know

In addition to his home and vehicle, police have cordoned off the cemetery where Skripal's wife is buried as well as The Mill pub in Salisbury.

Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey was initially assumed to have been among those who came to the aid of the former MI6 agent and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, after they were found collapsed on a park bench shortly before 4pm on Sunday.

Valery Morozov, another former Russian intelligence officer who now lives in exile in Britain, said Skripal was still working with Russian military intelligence, Polygraph reported.

British authorities have not disclosed what nerve agent was involved.

According to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the most common nerve agents used for military purposes are tabun, sarin, soman, cyclosarin, and VX.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain unconscious in a critical but stable condition following the attack on Sunday in the sleepy south-western English city of Salisbury.

Rudd says the attack is an "outrageous crime" and a "brazen and reckless act" but cautions it is too early to say who was behind it.

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Police later said they are treating the incident as "attempted murder". "But if we are to be rigorous in this investigation, we must avoid speculation and allow the police to carry on their investigation".

Lavrov has been quoted as saying by state news agency Tass that "whether it's poisoning of some British subjects, whether it's rumors about interference in the USA election campaign, if assistance really is needed, then we are ready to consider its possibility".

"We are committed to do all we can to bring the perpetrators to justice, whoever they are and wherever they may be", she said.

Mr Skripal served four years of a 13 year sentence in Russian Federation after he was caught spying for MI6 and was released as part of a spy exchange in 2010, when he was given refuge in the UK.

In 2004, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested Skripal and later on, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for high treason.

He and Mr Skripal flew together on a Russian plane to Vienna for the Cold War-style exchange deal, which involved Russian intelligence agent Anna Chapman and a few Russian sleeper agents.

Meanwhile, Alexander Goldfarb - a Russian dissident who was a friend of Alexander Litvinenko - recalled that Britain had accused two Russians with intelligence connections (Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun) of carrying out the murder.

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However, the Russian FM pointed out that Litvinenko's death, also blamed on Russia, hasn't been fully investigated.

A British inquiry found that Russia was responsible for Litvinenko's killing, and that Russian President Vladimir Putin probably approved it.

During a State Department briefing Tuesday when Nauert was asked about the meeting, she denied Russia's statement about sending the request.

He told the BBC it is important to find out "whether there is some pattern here". He also suggested that Britain could reconsider the participation of its officials in the soccer World Cup in Russian Federation this summer.

Skripal and his daughter both remain in serious condition, five days after collapsing, Britain's interior minister Amber Rudd said Friday.

Trump, bucking many members of his own party, orders steep new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to the U.S. "The doubts about the choice of World Cup hosts for 2018 and 2022 have now become serious problems due to political questions", said an official.

"If someone wants us to engage in an investigation, be that on the poisoning of the United Kingdom subject or the rumours about alleged interference in the electoral campaign of the USA, if you really need our assistance, then we will be willing to contemplate this possibility if we have the necessary data and facts", he added.

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  • Ryan Wade