Ex-double agent poisoned. Now, Russia and U.K. are battling. Here's how we got here

 usatoday.com  3/14/2018 3:49:12 PM   Jane Onyanga-Omara

LONDON — A diplomatic furor 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 critical condition following the March 4 incident.

Here's how the events unfolded:

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.

More: Britain expels 23 Russian diplomats over ex-spy's poisoning, U.K. PM Theresa May says

More: Novichok: What is Russia's dangerous poison used in ex-spy Sergei Skripal's case?

More: Trump says Russia must provide answers on poisoning of ex-Russian spy

More: Who is Sergei Skripal? Russian spy found unconscious in English park sparks intrigue

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."

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