Spy poisoning: Military remove ambulances and police cars for testing

Whitehall sources say it may be only a matter of days before detectives are able to confirm whether there is a Russian link to the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia

Over 250 members of the United Kingdom counterterrorism police were working on the investigation into the poisoning of the Russian-born double agent Sergei Skripal.

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were still hospitalized in "very serious condition" after being poisoned earlier this week, UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd said as she visited Salisbury on Friday.

"The two victims remain in hospital and they're critical but stable", Rudd told reporters.

Both were found comatose on a bench Sunday in the medieval city of Salisbury.

The police identified over 200 witnesses and were looking into over 240 pieces of evidence linked to the case, Rudd told reporters after chairing a meeting of the United Kingdom government's Cobra emergency committee on Saturday.

Nearly 200 specialists from the RAF and Marines began removing contaminated materials to be sent for analysis at the nearby Porton Down defence laboratory, seven days after the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal, the Russian double agent.

In a statement, he said he did not "consider himself a hero" and was "merely doing his job".

The grave of Mr Skripal's wife Liudmila, who was buried in 2012, and the memorial stone of his son Alexander, who was cremated past year, were cordoned off at the London Road cemetery.Apparent fears of chemical contamination have also seen Mr Skripal's home cordoned off while detectives attempt to pin down the origins of the substance used to incapacitate him. Forensic teams were seen at the graves of Skripal's wife and son. Also, the United Kingdom government deployed around 180 soldiers, including chemical warfare experts, to various locations around Salisbury. His son Alexander, 43, died while on holiday in St. Petersburg past year after reportedly suffering from liver failure.

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Much attention was focused Friday on Skripal's red brick home.

A short distance away, a convoy of military vehicles rolled into the auto park at Salisbury District Hospital to recover a police auto.

It has been suggested that Yulia may have unwittingly brought the nerve agent with her from Moscow in a gift.

Members of the Falcon Squadron, Royal Tank Regiment, conduct final training on Friday in southern England before deploying to Salisbury to help investigate the nerve-agent poisoning of a former Russian spy.

Police are looking for clues to what sickened Skripal, 66, who in 2006 was convicted in Russian Federation of spying for Britain, and his daughter, Yulia, 33.

Glamorous spy Anna Chapman has branded critically-ill Sergei Skirpal a "traitor" in her first comment on the agent with whom she was swapped in 2010.

On Tuesday, Boris Johnson said there were "echoes" in this case of what happened to former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who died a slow death after drinking tea laced with highly radioactive polonium-210 in 2006 in a hotel in the Mayfair section of London.

The attack is being treated as attempted murder. The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the incident and says anti-Russian hysteria is being whipped up by the British media.

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