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In Salisbury, the search continues for the source of the nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

What is known so far? The pair are in critical condition in a local hospital. They will help with the removal of contaminated items linked to the crime. Sgt. Nick Bailey fell ill after visiting Skripal's home, "whereas there was a doctor who looked after the patients in the open" who had not been affected. They, and a British police officer who attempted to help them, remain hospitalized.

"The public should not be alarmed", counterterrorism police, who are leading the investigation, said in a statement. Rudd said Britain would work out who was behind the attack and respond robustly.

"This is very likely the Russians - you don't get nerve agent down the freezer aisle in Morrisons".

But the investigation by the police and authorities to establish the full facts is ongoing. We'll do that properly, at the right time, and on the basis on the best evidence'.

"There was no evidence of a wider threat to public safety, he said".

On Thursday afternoon there was a "flurry of activity" in Salisbury as investigators wearing protective suits went into Mr Skripal's house, as they try to ascertain where the pair were exposed to the nerve agent.

"In essence what they do is to block the mechanism that allows a nerve to reset itself after a signal has been transmitted", he said. Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent when having lunch in a restaurant at the Maltings Mall.

Sergei Skripal in Malta
Image Sergei Skripal in Malta in 1985

Ms Rudd visited some of the sites cordoned off by counter-terrorism police in Salisbury on Friday. "It is very rare that those who choose it live out their days in peace and serenity", he said.

Sergei Viktrovich Skripal was born in the Soviet Union on June 23, 1951. Moscow has reiterated it is prepared to cooperate with a British investigation.

The 66-year-old was accused of working for MI6 over several years, in particular disclosing the names of several dozen Russian agents working in Europe. The returning spies were greeted as heroes in Moscow.

Penkovsky was arrested in 1962 and executed in 1963 after being found guilty of high treason and espionage.

"But in order to conduct such cases, it is necessary not to immediately run out on TV screens with unfounded allegations", Lavrov was quoted as saying by Russian state news agency Tass.

Dubbed the "illegals", some of the Russians had spent years quietly collecting information and trying to meet Americans with political ties.

One anchorman on a Russian state television news show began a report on Skripal's poisoning with a warning to anyone considering becoming a double agent. (AP/AAP) A memorial plaque for Alexander Skripal, the son of ex Russian spy Sergei Skripal. Skripal was listed at living there under his own name. Both his brother and son died within the past two years under unusual circumstances. His son died on a recent visit to Russian Federation. The details are unclear. Skripal's wife died shortly after her arrival in Britain from cancer, the Guardian newspaper reported. Reuters has not confirmed the exact cause of death of either. Moscow's other, better-known Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) is the successor to the KGB's First Chief Directorate.

Blair, who led London's police when ex-Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko was fatally poisoned, has told the BBC it is important to find out "whether there is some pattern here".

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