Developments in Salisbury ex-Russian spy crisis

Ambulance being removed Mike

Published by The Spire FM News Team at 8:21am 10th March 2018. (Updated at 9:46pm 11th March 2018)

Police say the deaths of Sergei Skripal's wife and son are part of their investigation into the attempted murder of the former Russian spy and his daughter Yulia.

  • Salisbury ambulance recovered by specialist forensic team
  • Vehicle believed to have transported Sergei or Yulia Skripal to hospital
  • Death of Russian spy's wife and son now being investigated
  • Government Cobra Committee meeting now concluded
  • Over 250 counter-terrorism police now involved in Salisbury investigation

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has concluded an emergency meeting of the Government's Cobra committee this afternoon (Sat 10th March) on the current crisis in Salisbury.

It follows the nerve agent attack on ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

Downing Street said investigators had been summoned to provide updates on the case.

Around 180 troops, including Royal Marines, RAF personnel and chemical specialists, were deployed in Salisbury yesterday to help police with their investigation, as attention moved to the burial site of Mr Skripal's wife and son. Scotland Yard had requested specialist help to remove vehicles and objects from scenes across the city amid fears of contamination.

7:02pm

  • Over 250 counter-terrorism police now involved in Salisbury investigation
  • More than 200 witnesses identified
  • Investigation progressing "with speed"
  • Skripal pair remain critical in hospital

The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has revealed more than 250 counter-terrorism police are involved in the Salisbury poisoning investigation.

Ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain in a critical condition six days after the attack. They are being treated at Salisbury District Hospital.

Ms Rudd, has finished chairing a meeting of the government's Cobra committee, and revealed more than 200 witnesses and 240 pieces of evidence have been identified. Officers from eight forces are on the case.

The Home Secretary has said the Salisbury poisioning investigation is progressing "with speed".

But Amber Rudd wouldn't be drawn on the type of nerve agent used to attack former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

6:19pm

  • Dashcam footage from Salisbury Ambulance station
  • Crowds of on-lookers watch from behind Police lines

This dash-cam footage, obtained exclusively by Spire FM News, shows a crowd of curious onlookers, TV camera crews, and reporters, standing along Odstock Road watching as the specialist forensic teams conduct the safe removal of the suspected 'hazardous'  vehicle which may hold vital evidence.

5:03pm

Military and police removing an ambulance in #Salisbury

A post shared by Spire FM (@spirefm) on

4:08pm

Military personnel were seen removing a vehicle from Salisbury's main ambulance base.Ambulance being removed Mike

4:02pm

Troops remove ambulance from Salisbury base

1:49pm

  • When will Salisbury get back to 'normal'
  • How long before the Police cordons are lifted

Salisbury's MP, John Glen, and Wiltshire Police's Chief Constable Kier Preitchard have both spoken on this issue. however neither were able to give any clear indication on how long the 'heightened' state of security will last.

John Glen MP:

"It is going to be a number of days before life in Salisbury completely returns to normal."

"The authorities will need to be 100% certain that all affected sites around Salisbury are safe before the cordons are removed."

Chief Constable Kier Pritchard:

"This has local, regional, national, international and global ramifications. It's too early to say how far and wide this investigation will stretch."

"We've now had two major incidents in a week, in terms of the response to the weather and the snow related challenges.. We've now quickly moved into this incident"

"The impact locally is still being experienced everyday... we have a large part of Salisbury that is still cordoned off, around The Maltings, near to the Zizzi restaurant, and The Mill pub."

"That is to ensure... we can secure every piece of evidence. That is also to ensure those [cordoned] scenes, when they are returned back to the public are completely safe."

This Tweet to Spire FM News from  shows Police tape, and cordon, still in place outside several shops in part of The Maltings shopping centre on Saturday afternoon...

1:10pm

  • Road Closure in Salisbury
  • Police at site of Ambulance station

Spire FM News has been heard from a resident in Woodbury Gardens that Police are knocking on doors warning that the cul-de-sac is being closed, possibly for a 'couple of hours'.

It's the road that leads to the South Western Ambulance Service vehicle base.

Earlier this week the Ambulance Station had been a 'place of interest' in this complex investigation.

12:41pm

  • Further restrictions on access to Salisbury cemetery
  • Attention's moved to burial site of Sergei Skripal's wife and son

Spire FM has learned that Police have increased the restrictions on access to the graveyard on London Road.

Two 'Incident Command' vehicles are now at the scene, along with another vehicle said to be an 'Ambulance'.

It appears that public access to the entire burial ground may now be 'off limits'. Police tape, and officers are preventing entry to the cemetery from the pavement off London Road.

11:41am

  • Graveyard still of interest
  • Screens being set up around already 'cordoned' area

Police activity continues to focus around the London Road cemetery in Salisbury this morning.

That's where Sergei Skripal's wife was buried in 2012, a his son's ashes are interred in 2017.

Around half a dozen Officers are busy erecting a screen around the 'tent' which is already over Mrs Skripal's grave.

Liudmila Skripal's grave
Liudmila Skripal's grave remains focus of investigation this morning

 

Investigators in the Russian spy poisoning mystery have been summoned to Downing Street to provide updates on the case at 3pm. The home secretary will chair the meeting.

10:41am

  • What's likely to be discussed at the Cobra meeting?
  • How should the UK respond?

The circumstances of the attack in Salisbury, and its echoes of the fatal poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, have prompted questions over the British Government's if the evidence points to a state-sponsored assassination plot.

Sergei Skripal served four years of a 13 year sentence in Russia after being caught spying for MI6. The 66 year old was released as part of a spy exchange in 2010. He was given refuge in the UK.

9:19am

The Ministry of Defence tweeted a statement from the Government Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, about the military deployment to Salisbury...

9:12am

This afternoon's emergency 'Cobra' meeting will be the second held this week.

Amber Rudd will chair the 'critical' meeting. It will hear updates and evidence from the specialists and investigators who're closest to what's happening at the scenes in Salisbury.

Amber Rudd at Salisbury Guildhall
Home Secretary Amber Rudd during her visit to Salisbury on Friday

 

WHAT IS COBRA?

A 'Cobra' meeting is usually called in response to any sort of national or regional UK crisis.

It stands for 'Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms' (COBR).

A 'Cobra' committee is usually formed from senior government ministers, civil servants, security & intelligence experts, military and emergency service leaders, and even local councils.

8:44am

LOCAL MP: "Genuine anger at the audacity of what has taken place within our city..."

John Glen MP, who was appointed Economic Secretary to the Treasury in January this year, said in a Facebook post:

"Now is the time for cool heads and a rational examination of the facts.

"Once these are established, then, and only then, will an appropriate and proportionate course of action be taken. A whole range of tools are at our disposal depending on who has perpetrated this act, including a number of financial and economic levers."

8:32am

Sergei and Yulia Skripal and now said to be in a 'serious condition' in hospital. Until now they had both been described as 'critical'.

Salisbury's Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who was also exposed to the deadly nerve agent, remains in hospital also.

DS Bailey fell ill after going to the aid of Sergei and his daughter when they were found slumped on a bench in the Maltings Shopping centre.

8:28am

Salisbury's MP John Glen has sought to reassure his constituents that a "whole range of tools are at our disposal" once it is established who was behind the poisoning.

Mr Glen was responding to some locals who had demanded "decisive action" over the incident.

The Russian foreign minister said the country would consider helping UK authorities investigate the poisoning after the Kremlin denied involvement.

Sergei Lavrov seemed to resent suggestions that Moscow was behind the nerve agent attack on the Skripals, calling such claims "propaganda".

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