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Spy poisoning: Military remove ambulances and police cars for testing

Police cars and ambulances are among dozens of items being removed from Salisbury for testing in the hunt to find those responsible for poisoning a former spy and his daughter.

Almost 200 specialists from the RAF and Marines began removing contaminated materials to be sent for analysis at the nearby Porton Down defence laboratory, seven days after the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal, the Russian double agent.

On Saturday screens and tents were erected across the area as troops removed vehicles linked to the poisoning to test for deadly nerve agents.

An ambulance was removed from Odstock Road ambulance station, on the edge of Salisbury.

Half a dozen Army personnel in chemical protection suits, plastic gloves and gas masks covered the vehicle in protective sheeting in preparation for it to be loaded onto a military low loader.

As they worked a crowd of curious residents gathered to watch and photograph the painstakingly careful operation taking place in the midst of their neighbourhood.

Emergency services in Hazmat suits at poisoned spy Segie Skripal’s wife’s grave at the London Road Cemetery, Salisbury.

Geoff Pugh

Some expressed surprise that it had taken this long since the attack for the authorities to get round to removing the ambulance.

It is thought the ambulance was one of the ones used to take those caught up in the attack to hospital.

The ambulance station is around a mile from Salisbury district hospital, where the Skripals and DC Bailey were taken for treatment, along with at least 18 others who fell ill.The memorial stone of Mr Skripal’s son Alexander, who died at the age of 43, and his wife Liudmila’s grave were both surrounded by tents.

His daughter Yulia Skripal, who is fighting for her life in hospital alongside her father, had placed fresh flowers at his memorial prior to the poisoning.

Scotland Yard confirmed officers were not exhuming a body, but would not comment further on the investigation, saying only the tent was in place for “operational reasons”.

Entrances to the cemetery remained sealed off by police cordons.

 Troops have been deployed to help police probing the nerve agent poisoning of spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.


Similar screens were put in front of the Zizzi restaurant overnight.

It emerged on Friday that the spy might have been poisoned at his home meaning that the nerve agent could have been in his system for hours before he eventually collapsed in the city centre on Sunday.

Chemical weapons experts said this could mean that a new strain of nerve agent – which was slower to take effect – may have been used to target Colonel Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who was made seriously ill by the nerve agent, is now thought to have been contaminated at Col Skripal’s home, having being one of the first officers to attend the house.

A police officer stands at a cordon at the scene connected to the Sergei Skripal nerve agent attack.

Getty Images Europe

Around 180 troops from the Royal Tank Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps and Royal Air Force and experts from the Defence Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Centre were deployed in the Wiltshire city on Friday.

Security Minister Ben Wallace said the Government was ready to respond with “the full force of the United Kingdom’s resources” once they had established who was responsible for the attack.

“Once we have established the facts and the attribution, the Government and law enforcement and others will respond appropriately as a country such of the United Kingdom should,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“We will respond with the full force of the United Kingdom’s resources if that is the appropriate and proportionate thing to do.

Sergei Skripal pictured as a lieutenant in the Russian Airborne Troops.

“If we are to take solid steps in response to whoever has done this, we are going to make sure that we do it in a considered (way) – but we also do it in an effective way and in a way that makes sure that Britain and British citizens and their interests are safe as a result of that response.

“We want to make sure that we are effective in whatever our response is. If that is arresting a couple of people and getting them in jail, then that is what we shall do.

“There are lots of things that the United Kingdom can do. It is a powerful country with a powerful economy, powerful allies, powerful military and powerful other capabilities and we shall look at those all.”

Miss Skripal, 33, had flown into London on Saturday, the day before the pair collapsed.

Both remain in intensive care, unconscious and fighting for their lives.

Col Skripal was convicted of treason in 2006 and jailed for 13 years for selling secrets to MI6, which had recruited him in the 1990s.

Col Skripal, a senior intelligence officer with Russian military intelligence GRU, was pardoned in a spy swap in 2010 and settled in Salisbury.

Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/10/spy-poisoning-military-remove-ambulances-police-cars-testing/

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