>> Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were deliberately poisoned, British police say, here's what we know so far. Skripal and his daughter were in the center of English city, Salisbury from around 1:30 PM on March the 4th. Their exact movements are not clear, but police have sealed off a restaurant and a pub.
At 4:15 PM, police were called about two people acting strangely. The pair were found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping center, and taken to a nearby hospital where they are in a critical condition. One of the first officers at the scene is also in a serious condition at the same hospital, but what poisoned them?
In summary, this is being treated as a major incident involving attempted murder by administration of nerve agents. Nerve agents are small molecules that interfere with the signals between the central nervous system and muscle fibers causing a systemic collapse of many bodily functions. A sample is being tested at Britain's military research laboratory, Porton Down.
The specific nerve agent used has been identified, though authorities have refused to disclose the details. So who is Sergei Skripal? Skripal was previously a colonel in the GRU, Russia's military intelligence service. He was arrested in December 2004 on suspicion of passing secrets to the UK's MI6. Russian media reported that he confessed at a secret trial in 2006 to selling names, addresses, and codenames.
Including those of deep cover agents operating in the UK and Europe, and this is why he was in Salisbury. In July 2010, Skripal was among four spies exchanged for ten Russian agents caught in the US. Since then, he's lived a modest life in Salisbury, and lost both his wife and son in recent years.
British media reported his wife, Lyudmila died of cancer in 2012, his son, Alexander, died in St Petersburg last summer, the details of his death are unclear.