Russian spy: What we know so far" width="640" height="534">
A former Russian spy and his daughter remain critically ill in hospital after being exposed to an "unknown substance" in Salisbury, Wiltshire.Police are trying to find out why Sergei Skripal, 66, was found slumped on a shopping centre bench alongside daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, on Sunday afternoon.Russia has denied any involvement. UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says the country would respond "robustly" if Moscow was found to be behind the incident.So what exactly is going onTimeline of events">
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CCTV footage shows a man and woman walking near the bench where Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found
Mr Skripal was found alongside his daughter on a bench near the Maltings shopping centre on 4 March.
They became ill around 13.30 GMT, police said. Officers were alerted to the incident by a concerned member of the public at around 16.15 GMT.CCTV footage released by police shows two people walking through an alleyway near the area where Mr Skripal and his daughter collapsed.
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The pair, who did not have any visible injuries, were taken to Salisbury District Hospital where they are being treated in intensive care for "suspected exposure to an unknown substance".Two police officers were also treated in hospital for minor symptoms - believed to be itchy eyes and wheezing - and a third member of the emergency services remains in hospital.The nearby Zizzi restaurant and The Bishop's Mill pub remain sealed off as a precaution.The 'quintessentially English' home of a Russian spy
Who is Sergei Skripal
Col Skripal, 66, had been living in Salisbury after being released by Russia in 2010
Colonel Skripal, a retired Russian military intelligence officer, was jailed for 13 years by Russia in 2006.He was convicted of passing the identities of Russian intelligence agents working undercover in Europe to the UK's Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.In July 2010, he was one of four prisoners released by Moscow in exchange for 10 Russian spies arrested by the FBI as part of a swap. He was later flown to the UK.According to BBC Newsnight's diplomatic editor Mark Urban, in recent years Col Skripal gave lectures at military academies offering insights into Russia's foreign military intelligence agency, the GRU.
Read more about Sergei Skripal's background here.
Putin, power and poison: Russia’s elite FSB spy club
Daughter, and family deaths
Yulia Skripal, from Moscow, was found on the bench alongside her father
Daughter Yulia Skripal, based in Moscow, would visit Mr Skripal regularly, relatives have told the BBC.Mr Skripal's wife, elder brother and his son have died in the past two years - some in suspicious circumstances, the family believe.His son, Alexander Skripal, died aged 43 last July in St Petersburg from liver failure, Newsnight said.Alexander Skripal is buried in Salisbury close to his mother, Liudmila Skripal, who died of cancer in 2012.Mr Skripal's family deny that he worked for MI6, and believe that the espionage case was fabricated by Russia.
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What are police doing?
Police have cordoned off the area where the pair were found
Counter Terrorism Police took over the investigation from Wiltshire Police on Tuesday - but said a terrorist incident had not been declared.They are appealing for witnesses and telling anyone with information to call 999.Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, head of counter-terrorism operations, said detectives had taken forensic samples at the scene and were doing toxicology work to "help us get to an answer".Scientists at the UK's military research facility at Porton Down are examining an "unknown substance".
How has the government responded?
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said police had more information about the substance that made the Skripals fall ill.Speaking after a meeting of the government's emergency committee Cobra, she said the investigation would be "lengthy and ongoing" and would respond to evidence not "rumour".On Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told MPs the UK would respond "robustly" to any evidence of Russian state responsibility in the case - but said he was not pointing fingers.He said a response could include sanctions, and asking UK dignitaries not to attend the World Cup in Russia this summer.
What has Russia said?
Russia has dismissed suggestions linking Moscow with the incident. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Mr Skripal's illness a "tragic situation" but said "we don't have any information" - and added that Moscow was open to cooperating with British police if requested.In a statement, the Russian embassy in London said: "Media reports create an impression of a planned operation by the Russian special services, which is completely untrue."
Has this happened in the UK before?
The possibility of an unknown substance being involved has drawn comparisons with the 2006 poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko.The former Russian intelligence officer died in London after drinking tea laced with a radioactive substance.A public inquiry concluded that his killing had probably been carried out with the approval of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
Who was Alexander Litvinenko?
What did locals see?">
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Witness: "They looked like they'd been taking something quite strong"
Eyewitness Freya Church said she saw a man and a woman looking unwell on a bench that afternoon."They looked so out of it that I thought even if I did step in I wasn't sure how I could help," she said. "It looked like they had been taking something quite strong."Another passer-by, Jamie Paine, said the woman he saw was frothing at the mouth and her eyes "were wide open but completely white".
A cordon remains in place outside a nearby Zizzi restaurant
Resident Graham Mulcock said he saw emergency services personnel attending to two people on a bench from the window of his flat in the city centre."You could see the paramedics were really worried," he said."The man was just sitting there, staring into space, eyes wide open in this catatonic state with paramedics all over him."
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