British Prime Minister Theresa May: Highly Likely Russia Behind Spy Poisoning World News
British Prime Minister Theresa May today said it was "highly likely" that Russia was behind the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter with a deadly "military-grade" nerve agent last week, further deteriorating bilateral ties with Moscow.
Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66 and his daughter Yulia, 33 were found collapsed after being poisoned on Sunday afternoon.
Skripal and Yulia remain in a serious condition along with a police officer who came in contact with the same substance.
May today chaired a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) to assess the intelligence around the poisoning, BBC reported.
"This attempted murder using a weapons-grade nerve agent in a British town was not just a crime against the Skripals. It was an indiscriminate and reckless act against the United Kingdom, putting the lives of innocent civilians at risk," May said in a statement.
"And we will not tolerate such a brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil," she added.
The prime minister said the government had concluded it was "highly likely" that Russia was responsible for the attack on Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 4.
She said Russia's ambassador in London had been summoned to explain whether it was "a direct action by the Russian state" or the result of it "losing control" of its stock of nerve agents.
Russia has continued to deny any Kremlin involvement, but the attack has been compared to the murder of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, who ingested the rare and highly radioactive polonium 210 in London 11 years ago. The incident had hit ties between London and Moscow.
Colonel Skripal was convicted of treason in 2006 and jailed for 13 years for selling secrets to MI6, which had recruited him in the 1990s. The senior intelligence officer with Russian military intelligence GRU, was pardoned in a spy swap in 2010 and settled in Salisbury, Wiltshire.