Amber Rudd condemns 'brazen and reckless' poisoning of Russian spy

Posted On: 
8th March 2018

Amber Rudd has condemned the "brazen and reckless" attempt to murder a Russian spy living in the UK.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd.
Credit: 
Parliament TV

The Home Secretary said the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, with a nerve agent was a "cruel" act which would not go unpunished.

The pair were found unconscious on a shopping centre bench in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on Sunday.

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A police officer who attended the scene has also been hospitalised, but his condition is improving.

Russia has denied claims that it ordered the attack on Mr Skripal, who was granted refuge in Britain eight years ago as part of a "spy swap" with the country.

Updating MPs on the incident, Ms Rudd said: "The use of nerve agent on UK soil is a brazen and reckless act. This was attempted murder in the most cruel and public way."

She added: “If we are to be rigorous in this investigation we must avoid speculation and allow the police to carry on their investigation. The investigation now involves hundreds of officers following every possible lead to find those responsible.

"We are committed to doing all we can to bring the perpetrators to justice, whoever they are and wherever they may be. As the Foreign Secretary made clear, we will respond in a robust and appropriate manner once we ascertain who was responsible."

Theresa May also refused to be drawn on who may be responsible for the poisoning, but said "if action needs to be taken then the government will do that".

Speaking to ITV News, the Prime Minister said: "We will do what is appropriate, we will do what is right, if it is proved to be the case that this is state sponsored. But let's give the police the time and space to actually conduct their investigation."

The Russian Embassy in London used its Twitter account to reject suggestions that the Kremlin was involved.