21 people

The Guardian reports:

The investigation into the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal has widened, as police sealed off the graves of his wife, Liudmila, and son, Alexander, and confirmed that a total of 21 people had been treated as a result of the incident.

The police officer who was exposed to the nerve agent used on the Skripals, named on Thursday as DS Nick Bailey, remained in a serious but stable condition.

Forensics officers began a major search for evidence at Skripal’s semi-detached house. They also cordoned off the graves in Salisbury cemetery where Liudmila and Alexander Skripal were interred in adjacent plots, and sealed off a garage and recovery service elsewhere in the city.

I wouldn’t want to be living in the other half of that semi.

Experts at the government’s laboratory at Porton Down have identified the poison used but are keeping shtum.

The use of a nerve toxin, usually only held in state military stockpiles, is being seen as a key indicator of possible Kremlin involvement. On Thursday, the Russian embassy in London sent a sarcastic tweet, saying of Skripal: “He was actually a British spy, working for MI6.”

Moscow has repeatedly denied it has anything to do with the attack, the same line used when the FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in 2006 with a radioactive cup of tea. A public inquiry a decade later ruled the Kremlin had ordered the hit.

I’m starting to think the Russian government is not a very benevolent outfit.

The Salisbury attack left Skripal and his daughter in a comatose condition last Sunday afternoon, on a bench in the Maltings shopping centre.

Detectives will be seeking to establish how the toxin was delivered – and, crucially, where. One source suggested that Bailey was exposed to the nerve agent from inside Skripal’s house and not in the city centre, as was previously thought.

It is understood that the cordon at the cemetery is in place primarily to keep media away from the graves of Liudmila Skripal, who died of cancer in 2012 aged 59, and Alexander Skripal, who died in March last year in St Petersburg, aged 43.

There was no sign of activity taking place on the site, but the family’s run of ominous bad luck is likely to prompt police to examine whether Liudmila and Alexander may have been victims of foul play.

Trump is wishing he had some of that stuff, whatever it is.

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