March 8, 2018 / 8:34 AM / 3 months ago

UK police officer harmed by nerve agent now talking: minister

LONDON (Reuters) - A British police officer who was harmed by a nerve agent used in an attack on a Russian ex-spy is now able to talk to people although his condition remains serious, interior minister Amber Rudd said on Thursday.

Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd arrives In Downing Street in London, March 6, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Former double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on Sunday on a bench in the southern English city of Salisbury and have been in a critical condition in hospital since then. An unnamed police officer who was at the scene was also hospitalized.

“I heard this morning from the head of counter terrorism policing that he (the police officer) is at least engaging with, talking to, people, but that doesn’t mean that his situation isn’t serious,” Rudd said during an interview on BBC radio.

“It remains serious. He’s not in intensive care but it is a serious situation.”

Rudd, who declined to give any further details on the exact nature of the nerve agent used, said Britons should keep a cool head in reacting to the attack and wait for conclusive evidence about what happened.

She said the authorities would have a plan to respond to the attack, once the facts were known.

Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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