Tuesday, May 28

Skripal’s pets died of poisoning



Skripal was imprisoned in 2010 after being found guilty of selling secrets to British intelligence

Two guinea pigs and a cat belonging to former spy Sergei Skripal died following the nerve agent attack on him and his daughter Yulia, it has been revealed.

More than a month after the Skripals were poisoned in Salisbury, a spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs disclosed the fate of the ex-Russian double agent’s three animals.

Both guinea pigs were found dead at his home in the Wiltshire city, while the cat needed to be put down.

When a vet was able to access the property, two guinea pigs had sadly died, the spokeswoman said.

A cat was also found in a distressed state and a decision was taken by a veterinary surgeon to euthanise the animal to alleviate its suffering. This decision was taken in the best interests of the animal and its welfare.

Moscow which continues to deny responsibility for the attack raised concerns about the welfare of the pets earlier this week.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova questioned why the UK Government had not revealed any information about their fate, expressing concern that they must have suffered as a result of exposure to the poison.

According to The Sun, the cat – which was extremely malnourished by the time it was found was examined at Porton Down before being put down.

Its remains – along with those of the guinea pigs, who had died due to a lack of water while the house was sealed off were then incinerated in case they had been contaminated with the novichok substance.

Russia’s London embassy has made reference to a second missing cat, which has not yet been addressed by the UK Government.

News of the pets’ death came after Britain and Russia’s UN ambassadors clashed during an emergency Security Council meeting in New York.

Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzya said the UK was playing with fire and will be sorry over its response to the attack on the Skripals. His address included praise for the chief executive at Porton Down, who told Sky News earlier this week that scientists had not yet discovered the precise source of the novichok used.

Meanwhile, Ms Skripal has issued her first statement on the attack, saying her strength is growing daily.