It's been confirmed the use of Russian-developed nerve agent Novichok was used to poison ex-spy Sergei Skirpal and his daughter. This animation shows how nerve agents attack the nervous system. (March 13) AP
LONDON — A diplomatic furor has erupted between the United Kingdom and Russia after a former double agent and his daughter were poisoned with a Russian-made nerve agent in the southern English city of Salisbury.
Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, remain in a hospital in a critical but stable condition following the March 4 incident.
On Monday, the United States expelled 60 Russian spies and shuttered the Russian consulate in Seattle in response to the poisonings. The United States joined a joint statement with the U.K., France, and Germany blaming Russia for the Skripal attack. It also cited the poisoning when it applied new sanctions on Russia over cyber activities during the election.
1995: Skripal is working as a Russian military intelligence officer when the United Kingdom recruits him to pass state secrets on to MI6, the U.K.'s foreign intelligence service, according to media reports.
1999: Skripal leaves the Russian military but continues to pass state secrets to Britain, Russia’s security service says.
2003: Skripal leaves the Russian Foreign Ministry and becomes a businessman.
2004: Skripal is arrested in Moscow where he reportedly told officers: "You outplayed me."
August 2006: Russia convicts Skripal of treason and sentences him to 13 years in prison for spying.
July 2010: Skripal and three other spies are exchanged for 10 Russian “sleeper” agents in the U.S. and he is freed from jail.
2011: Skripal, his wife Liudmilla and daughter Yulia move to Salisbury and buy a house.
2012: Liudmila dies of cancer at age 59.
2017: Skripal’s son Alexander dies of reported liver failure at age 43 while on vacation in St. Petersburg, Russia.
March 4, 2018: Skripal and his daughter Yulia are found slumped on a bench in Salisbury. They are taken to a hospital where they remain in critical condition.
March 6: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says the U.K. will "respond appropriately and robustly" if Russia is found to have been involved in the incident. Russia denies involvement and says it has no information on the case. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Britain has not asked for Russia's assistance, but "Moscow is always ready for cooperation."
March 7: Police confirm the Skripals were exposed to a nerve agent, and that one police officer is in intensive care in a serious condition.
March 8: Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd tells lawmakers the "outrageous crime" is "attempted murder in the most cruel and public way."
March 12: Prime Minister Theresa May tells Parliament the father and daughter were poisoned with Novichok, "a military grade nerve agent developed by Russia."
May said: "Either this was a direct action by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of its potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others."
March 14: May gives 23 Russian diplomats a week to leave Britain and says her country will cancel all high-level bilateral contacts with Moscow, after Russia ignored a midnight deadline to explain how the nerve agent was used to target the Skripals.
The Russian Embassy in the U.K. responds in a statement: "We consider this hostile action as totally unacceptable, unjustified and shortsighted. All the responsibility for the deterioration of the Russia-U.K. relationship lies with the current political leadership of Britain."
March 15: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says his country will soon expel British diplomats, Russia's RIA news agency reports.
In a joint statement, the leaders of France, Germany, the United States and the U.K. say the poisoning was the first "offensive" use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War II and call on Russia "to address all questions related to the attack."
They also call on Moscow to provide a complete disclosure of the Novichok program to the world chemical weapons watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
March 17: Russia announces it is expelling 23 British diplomats, shutting the British consulate in St. Petersburg and closing cultural organization the British Council.
March 22: Diplomatic tensions escalate as Russia condemns remark by Britain’s Foreign Minister Boris Johnson. Johnson says President Vladimir Putin will attempt to use the World Cup soccer tournament this summer in Russia to burnish his country's image the way Hitler did when Germany hosted the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
March 26: The U.S. and EU member nations including Germany and France expel dozens of Russian diplomats. "Today’s actions make the United States safer by reducing Russia’s ability to spy on Americans and to conduct covert operations that threaten America’s national security," the White House says in a statement. Russia appears poised to retaliate with further expulsions of its own.
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