Russian spy: Foreign minister says Russia willing to help in inquiry

Theresa May branded an attempt to kill a Russian double agent with a nerve agent an'appalling and reckless crime

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

Police said that a nerve agent was used in the attack on Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, 33, who remain in critical but stable condition in hospital after being found slumped on a bench near a shopping center on Sunday.

He added that the attack was "a very serious incident with horrendous outcomes".

She said 240 witnesses had been identified and 250 officers from eight out of 11 of the country's counter-terrorism units were handling the case with "speed and professionalism".

About 180 troops have been brought in to help remove vehicles and potentially-contaminated objects around the crime scene due to their specialist knowledge, said police.

The police reportedly sealed off a vehicle recovery garage and erected three cordons and evidence tents around Skripal's home in the city, leading to speculation that he may not have been poisoned at a pub or a restaurant that were cordoned off earlier.

"This was attempted murder in the most cruel and public way", Ms Rudd told parliament in a statement.

Twenty-one people were taken to hospital following the incident but apart from the Skripals only Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, the first police officer on the scene, is still being treated.

In Salisbury, the investigation continued to move at a fast pace.

On Saturday, investigators dressed in protective suits were seen around her grave with a brightly coloured gurney placed nearby, while workers erected a barrier at the entrance to the cemetery where Lyudmila was buried following her death in 2012.

"In terms of further options, that will have to wait until we're absolutely clear what the consequences could be and what the actual source of this nerve agent has been", Rudd said.

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

With police also hurt in the attack, pressure is intensifying on Prime Minister Theresa May to find and punish the culprits.

Known as the spy with the Louis Vuitton bag, Mr Skripal was a KGB veteran who was convicted in Russian Federation for spying for the British intelligence agency MI6 in 2006.

Commenting on people spying on Russian Federation, he said: "Don't choose Britain as a place to live".

The U.K. has vowed to take strong action against whoever was responsible for the "brazen and reckless" attack.

A British public inquiry found that Putin had probably ordered Litvinenko's murder.

The attack has been likened to the assassination of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who died in London in 2006 after drinking green tea laced with radioactive polonium-210.

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.

"You can not tolerate a government assassination on British soil - it is absolutely beyond the pale and needs a reaction", he said.


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