A prominent British newspaper reports that British Prime Minister Theresa May “is on the verge of publicly blaming Russia for the attempted murder” of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia” and “ordering expulsions and sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime.”
The Times of London account that appeared on the paper’s website early Monday said “an announcement could come as early as today after a meeting of the government’s National Security Council.”
The Times said the ministers will hear “the latest intelligence” on the attack on Skripal and his daughter, both of whom are hospitalized in critical condition.
The Times account said its sources “suggested that the police and security services had established sufficient evidence to link Moscow with the nerve agent used to try to kill” the father and daughter.
British health officials said Sunday that traces of a nerve agent used in the suspected attempted murder in Salisbury were found in a pub and restaurant the pair visited, but that the risk to public health remains low.
Health officials said those who visited the Mill pub and Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury, southwest England on March 4 and March 5 should take “simple” precautions, including washing their clothes.
“While there is no immediate health risk to anyone who may have been in either of these locations, it is possible, but unlikely, that any of the substance which has come into contact with clothing or belongings could still be present in minute amounts and therefore contaminate your skin. Over time, repeated skin contact with contaminated items may pose a small risk to health,” a statement released by Public Health England read.
Hospital officials in Salisbury said there is no evidence of a wider attack on the town, aside from three people who have been hospitalized since the attack on Skripal and his daughter.
Police have not publicly talked about the nerve agent that poisoned Skripal or who might have been responsible.
British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said Britain is being “pushed around” by the Kremlin.
Prime Minister May has promised an “appropriate” response, if it is discovered that Russia is responsible for poisoning Skripal, but has urged caution.
Russian officials deny the Kremlin had anything to do with the assassination attempt.
Skripal served in Russia’s military intelligence agency, GRU, and was exchanged in a spy swap in 2010 on the runway at Vienna’s airport.
After serving four years in prison in Russia for spying for Britain’s espionage service, MI6, Skripal was one of four Russian double agents exchanged for 10 Russians expelled from the United States.