Military Personnel Swarm City in Russia Spy Probe

Investigators take closer look at two grave sites
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2018 8:30 AM CST
In this image dated Friday March 9, 2018, and issued Saturday March 10, 2018, by Britain's Ministry of Defence, showing troops in protective gear as they work to remove a contaminated police car from...   (Pete Brown/MoD via AP)
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(Newser) – An investigation into the apparent poisoning of a Russian double agent and his daughter concentrated Friday on two grave sites in the once-quiet city of Salisbury, the Guardian reports. With some 200 military personnel supporting police efforts, hazmat-suit-wearing experts established tents around two graves: the wife and son of Sergei Skripal, 66, the agent found slumped over a Salisbury bench last Sunday. The wife, Liudmila, is said to have died of cancer six years ago at age 59, while 43-year-old son Alexander died in St. Petersburg last March for unknown reasons. In other developments:

  • The British government is convening its emergency "Cobra" committee today, including foreign secretary Boris Johnson, to hear about the police probe—which official sources say is "moving quite quickly."
  • British Detective Sgt. Nick Bailey, sickened during the investigation, is in serious condition but able to speak with visitors, CNN reports. Officials want to know if he fell ill visiting the Salisbury bench or Skripal's home, where the agent's daughter Yulia may have unwittingly brought home a "Trojan horse" package of deadly nerve gas from Moscow, the Sun notes.
  • Skripal's main job as a double agent was to give MI6 a full list of Russian intelligence officers—but that doesn't include undercover spies in the West, the Times reports. He also siphoned information to the CIA and other British allies.
Investigators have identified the substance used to fell Skripal and his daughter, who remain in critical condition.

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