Russian spy: What we know so far
Police are conducting an attempted murder investigation after a former Russian spy and his daughter were exposed to a nerve agent in Salisbury, Wiltshire.
Sergei Skripal, 66, and Yulia Skripal, 33, remain in a critical condition after being found slumped on a bench near the Maltings shopping centre on Sunday afternoon.
The first police officer to reach the scene is in a serious but stable condition in hospital. He is conscious but “very anxious” about being exposed to a nerve agent.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd described the attack as brazen, reckless and cruel and promised to “act without hesitation as the facts become clearer”.
Russia has denied any involvement. UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says the country will respond “robustly” if Moscow is found to have been behind the incident.
Here’s what we know so far.
Timeline of events
Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia were believed to have been in Salisbury city centre from 13:30 GMT on 4 March.
A witness told the BBC that he saw the pair in the Zizzi restaurant at about 14:00 GMT.
Mr Skripal was found alongside his daughter on a bench near the Maltings shopping centre.
At about 16:15 GMT officers were alerted to the incident by a concerned member of the public.
The emergency workers who stepped in
A doctor, who was shopping with her husband in the city centre on Sunday, told the BBC she stepped in to help Ms Skripal after she found her slumped on the bench.
She described her as “slumped in her seat, completely unconscious” and had lost control of her bodily functions.
Helped by a passing nurse, the hospital registrar got the 33-year-old onto the floor and into the recovery position – opening up her airway.
The pair, who did not have any visible injuries, were taken to Salisbury District Hospital by paramedics where they are being treated in intensive care.
The doctor said she “feels fine” but remains concerned that she may have been affected by a nerve gas agent used in the attack.
The first police officer to reach the scene – Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey – was also taken to hospital and placed in intensive care but police say his condition is now stable.
On Thursday, Amber Rudd said he was “engaging and talking with people”.
Two other police officers were treated in hospital for minor symptoms – believed to be itchy eyes and wheezing.
Police said they wanted to speak to anyone who was in the centre of Salisbury on Sunday afternoon, particularly those who ate at Zizzi or drank in The Mill pub between 13:00 GMT and 16:00 GMT.
The nearby Zizzi restaurant and The Mill pub remain sealed off as a precaution.
There is also a cordon in place outside Mr Skripal’s Salisbury home and part of a business park in nearby Amesbury.
The graves of Mr Skripal’s wife and son at a cemetery in the Wiltshire town have also been taped off.
- What now for the UK/Russia relationship?
- What are nerve agents and what do they do?
Who are the victims?
Colonel Skripal is a retired Russian military intelligence officer who was convicted of passing the identities of Russian intelligence agents working undercover in Europe to the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.
He was jailed for 13 years by Russia in 2006.
In July 2010, he was one of four prisoners released by Moscow in exchange for 10 Russian spies arrested by the FBI as part of a swap. He was later flown to the UK.
According to BBC Newsnight’s diplomatic editor Mark Urban, in recent years Mr Skripal gave lectures at military academies offering insights into Russia’s foreign military intelligence agency, the GRU.
A friend from college, Vladimir Svyatski, described Mr Skripal as “very active, with a positive attitude and creative”.
A former colleague, Oleg Ivanov, told the BBC he was “the life and soul of party”.
Daughter Yulia Skripal, based in Moscow, would visit Mr Skripal regularly, relatives have told the BBC.
Her Facebook page says she worked for the Holiday Inn and Nike and is currently employed by PepsiCo.
- Sergei Skripal and the 14 deaths under scrutiny
- Read more about Sergei Skripal’s background here.
What else do we know about his family?
Mr Skripal’s wife, elder brother and his son have died in the past two years – some in suspicious circumstances, the family believe.
His son, Alexander Skripal, died aged 43 last July in St Petersburg from liver failure.
Alexander Skripal is buried in Salisbury close to his mother, Liudmila Skripal, who died of cancer in 2012.
Mr Skripal’s family deny that he worked for MI6, and believe that the espionage case was fabricated by Russia.
Where have the police got to in their investigation?
Police say the pair were poisoned by a nerve agent and are treating the case as attempted murder.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, head of counter-terrorism operations, said the Skripals had been “targeted specifically”.