March 8, 2018 / 11:58 AM / in 3 months

UK will respond robustly to nerve agent attack on Russian ex-spy: minister

LONDON (Reuters) - The use of a nerve agent on British soil to attack Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia is a brazen and reckless act, but Britons must avoid speculating on who was behind it, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said on Thursday.

Sergei Skripal, a former colonel of Russia's GRU military intelligence service, looks on inside the defendants' cage as he attends a hearing at the Moscow military district court, Russia August 9, 2006. Picture taken August 9, 2006. Kommersant/Yuri Senatorov via REUTERS

Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter were found unconscious on Sunday on a bench in the southern English cathedral city of Salisbury. They remain in hospital in a critical condition. A police officer who was among the first on the scene was also harmed.

“The use of a nerve agent on UK soil is a brazen and reckless act. This was attempted murder in the most cruel and public way,” Rudd told parliament.

“But if we are to be rigorous in this investigation, we must avoid speculation, and allow the police to carry on their investigation.

“We will respond in a robust and appropriate manner once we ascertain who was responsible.

“We are committed to do all we can to bring the perpetrators to justice, whoever they are and wherever they may be.”

Reporting by Estelle Shirbon and Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison

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