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UK lawmaker says spy poisoning looks to be 'state-sponsored'

AP | PTI/London 12 Mar 18 | 06:48 PM

England's chief medical officer says up to 500 people who visited The Mill pub and Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury should wash their clothes and belongings as a precaution

A senior British lawmaker has said the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter is "looking awfully like it was state-sponsored attempted murder."

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Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee, told the BBC it was too early to know for sure, but he was expecting to hear from Prime Minister Theresa May on the subject soon.

"And, frankly, I would be surprised if she did not point the finger at the Kremlin," he added.

May is chairing a National Security Council meeting today to hear the latest evidence.

Skripal and his adult daughter Yulia remain in critical condition following the March 4 nerve agent attack. A police detective who also became ill is hospitalized in serious conditions but is reported by British officials to be sitting up and talking. Authorities have not said what nerve agent was used or who is to blame.

Some officials, analysts and politicians have compared the case to the murder of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with radioactive tea in London in 2006. A British inquiry concluded the killing had "probably" been authorized by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The 66-year-old Skripal worked for Russian military intelligence before he was recruited to spy for Britain. He was freed in a spy swap in 2010 and had settled in the cathedral city of Salisbury.

He and his daughter were found comatose on a bench near the city center.

British officials have said the risk to the public is low but have urged people who patronized a restaurant and a pub where the Skripals are believed to have been to wash their clothes and take other precautions.

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