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Assassin targeted ex-Russian spy with nerve agent at his own front door

Sergei Skripal and his daughter remain in a critical condition, but are not expected to fully recover.
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Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were likely poisoned at home, officials said Wednesday, after police found the highest concentration of a deadly nerve agent on the front door of Skripal’s house in Salisbury.

The door has since been removed, based on aerial images of the property obtained by Sky News.

The March 4 attack, using the military-grade nerve toxin Novichok, may have left its victims brain-damaged. The U.K. has publicly blamed the Kremlin for the attempted murder. Countries around the world have united against Moscow by expelling more than 130 Russian diplomats in recent days.


“At this point in our investigation, we believe the Skripals first came into contact with the nerve agent from their front door,” Dean Haydon, the U.K.’s senior national coordinator for counter-terrorism policing, said. “We are therefore focusing much of our efforts in and around their address."

Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury more than three weeks ago. They remain in a critical condition, but are not expected to fully recover.

While the initial focus of the probe was on the pub and restaurant visited by the pair on the night of the attack, police are now focusing on Skripal’s home on Christie Miller Road.

Skripal bought the house under his own name for $360,000 with no mortgage in 2011, a year after the former Russian military intelligence agent was granted asylum in Britain. He is believed to have given up dozens of Russian agents to MI6 as part of the deal.

The sprawling investigation boasts more than 250 detectives who have poured over more than 5,000 hours of CCTV footage and examined more than 1,350 seized items.

About 500 witnesses have been identified and hundreds of statements have been taken.

The poisoning has triggered an unprecedented international reaction and sent Russia’s relations with the West to levels not seen since the Cold War.

After the U.K. kicked out dozens of diplomats, at least 25 other countries followed suit, exiling some 130 Russian officials in total.


Russia has dismissed the allegations, and reacted by expelling foreign officials. On Wednesday, Russia demanded London prove its own spies were not behind the poisoning.

On Thursday, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused the U.K. of breaking international law by refusing to provide information about Skripal’s daughter to Moscow.

Cover image: Investigators work in the garden of Sergei Skripal's house in Salisbury, southern England, on March 22, 2018. (GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images)