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Britain threatens Russia with new sanctions against poisoning of double agent

Boris Johnson

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The UK may introduce new sanctions against Russia if it proves to be involved in the alleged poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, revealed the British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson. This happened after the 66-year-old former colonel of the Russian Intelligence Agency and his daughter Julia were found slumped unconscious on a bench in Salisbury on Sunday afternoon.
The two were urgently taken to hospital and in critical condition. They are supposed to have had contact with an unknown poisonous substance. According to unconfirmed information it is fentanyl. Two police officers were also hospitalized after they went to the scene of the incident.
The Metropolitan police said that due to the “unusual circumstances” its counter-terrorism unit would now be heading the investigation. The police presence in Salisbury was stepped up on Tuesday, as specialist officers appeared around a police cordon.
Russia announced yesterday that it had no information about the former Russian double agent and described it as a “tragic incident”. Speaker of President Dmitry Peskov said the Russian authorities have no information what the reason could be.
“Nevertheless, we don’t have any information on what could have caused it and what this person was doing”, said Peskov. “We are always open for cooperation”, added he.
When asked to respond to British media speculation that Russia had poisoned the ex-spy, Peskov said: “It didn’t take them long”.
Scripal was convicted in 2006 of 13 years in prison for espionage in favor of the UK, where he later received asylum, and in 2010 was part of the spies exchange between the United States and Russia. Then Moscow exchanged 4 double agents against 10 captured Russian spies operating in America.
The case of Scripal’s poisoning caused parallels with the poisoning and death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London with radioactive polonium in 2006.