Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said that Russia is likely to be involved in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer. She said that in the Parliament, CDS reports.
“The government concluded, that Russia is likely to be responsible for actions against Sergei and Yulia Skripal,” May said.
According to her, Skripal was poisoned by a military neuroparalytic substance, made by Russia. She believes that it was either Russia’s direct action or Moscow lost grip of its chemical weapon.
May said, that Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, on March 12 called Russian ambassador for an explanation of how the substance appeared in Salisbury and was used against former Russian military intelligence officer. London expects Russia’s respond till the evening of March 13.
Meanwhile, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called things going on in British Parliament “a circus and another informative and political campaign based on a provocation”.
Earlier it was reported that a 66-year-old man and 33-year-old women were taken to Salisbury hospital with symptoms of unidentified substance poisoning. Later, the municipal authorities reported on the emergency case, the building of the mall and a couple of city districts were blocked and taped up, experts were performing disinfection. Salisbury hospital was shut down as well. The authorities did not reveal the name of the substance. It is noted that the poisoned man appeared to be a former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal.
In December 2004, Skripal was arrested in Russia and charged with "high treason in the form of espionage", and was convicted. Prosecutors initially argued for fifteen years in prison – Skripal was eventually sentenced to thirteen, in recognition of his poor health and the fact that he co-operated with investigators. The affair was not revealed to the public until after he was sentenced in August 2006. Skripal's lawyers appealed the sentence.
Skripal was pleaded guilty. He stated that he was recruited by the British in 1995 and provided them with information about GRU officers and agents in Europe. For this data, he allegedly received more than 100 thousand dollars.
Skripal continued to work for the British special services even after his dismissal from the GRU. As a result, Skripal was sentenced to 13 years in prison in a strict regime colony.
In July 2010, Skripal, along with three other Russian nationals imprisoned for espionage, was pardoned and released as part of a spy exchange for the ten Russian agents arrested in the United States as part of the Illegals Program, after being pardoned by the then President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev.