The UK’s police counter-terrorism chief has confirmed that the case of Russian spy Mr Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who are both still in hospital (see our related coverage), is now being treated as attempted murder.
According to Scotland Yard assistant chief commissioner Mr Mark Rowley the police officer who found Mr Skripal has now been taken to hospital himself and is “seriously ill.”
“Wiltshire police are providing full support to his family.”
All three people, Russian spy Mr Skripal, his daughter and the police officer who found them are suffering from “exposure to a nerve agent” and are kept in a coma.
<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Sky Sources: Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, his daughter Yulia and a police officer are believed to be in a coma following exposure to a nerve agent. Full details here: <a href="https://t.co/yNgFrOxzyJ">https://t.co/yNgFrOxzyJ</a> <a href="https://t.co/j1zdWsu06r">pic.twitter.com/j1zdWsu06r</a></p>— Sky News (@SkyNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/SkyNews/status/971496321910624256?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 7, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Unlike in the case of Mr Alexander Litvinenko, another Russian spy poisoned in London (with a slow-acting radioactive cup of tea) this time a fast-working and highly sophisticated material was used.
Related coverage: http://thegoldwater.com/news/19968-Russian-Spy-Poisoned-In-London-Again
Mr Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, formerly employed at the UK army’s chemical, biological and nuclear regiment, stated that: “This needs expertise and a special place to make it or you will kill yourself. It’s only a small amount, but you don’t make this in your kitchen.”
Nerve agents such as VX, Sarin and Anthrax were too difficult for amateurs to make, according to Mr de Bretton-Gordon: “Not even the so-called Islamic State could do it.”
UK politicians have openly criticized the Russian government for daring to act on their soil, even though the Kremlin denies any involvement in the matter and said it would ‘gladly cooperate with the investigation if asked.’
Mr Richard Guthrie, a chemical weapons expert, explained to the UK press that “nerve agents, such as sarin or VX, require some fairly complicated chemistry using certain highly reactive chemicals. Small quantities could be made in a well-equipped laboratory with an experienced analytical chemist”.
“To carry out the reactions in a domestic kitchen would be essentially impossible. Moreover, sarin is odourless, colourless and tasteless. Any tiny leaks of its vapour would be potentially fatal.”
Furthermore, according to UK newspaper The Telegraph, they can link the poisoned Russian spy, Mr Skripal (a former Colonel in the Russian army) to a security consultant working together with Mr Christopher Steele, the head of the company that compiled the controversial ‘dossier’ on US President Donald Trump. The consultant lived near Mr Skripal and neighbors confirm the two men knew each other.
Professor Anthony Glees, employed by the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham, said: "It is beyond doubt that he would have known Steele and Steele would have known him."