U.K. condemns 'brazen' poisoning of former Russian spy

03/08/18 04:55 PM EST

By Wiktor Szary

21 people treated for exposure to nerve agent

LONDON -- British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the U.K. would be ready to respond to the attempted murder of a Russian double agent living in Britain if it was attributed to Moscow, describing the use of a nerve agent on U.K. soil as a "brazen and reckless act."

"There is nothing soft about the U.K.'s response to any sort of state activity in this country," Rudd told the British Broadcasting Corp. on Thursday. "You may not hear about it all, but when we do see that there is action to be taken, we will take it." She didn't elaborate further. The Russian government has denied any responsibility in the poisoning.

Sergei Skripal, a 66-year-old former colonel in Russian military intelligence who has lived in Britain since a 2010 spy exchange, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, were found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping mall in southwestern England on Sunday afternoon, following what police said was a targeted attack. They remained unconscious, in critical but stable condition, Rudd told Parliament later Thursday.

A police officer who was one of the first on the scene and fell ill was likely exposed to the same substance as the original victims of the attack, Rudd said. Wiltshire Police named the injured officer late Thursday as Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey and said he was in serious but stable condition, conscious and talking. Police said a total of 21 people have received medical treatment following Sunday's incident, but only Skripal, his daughter and Bailey remain in the hospital.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com (https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-condemns-brazen-act-of-attempted-murder-of-ex-russian-spy-1520518108?mod=mktw).

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-Wiktor Szary ; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com


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03-08-18 1655ET

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