The poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter looks “awfully like it was state-sponsored attempted murder,” a senior British lawmaker said Monday.
Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee, told BBC News it was too early to know for sure, but he was expecting to hear from Prime Minister Theresa May on the subject soon.
“And, frankly, I would be surprised if she did not point the finger at the Kremlin,” he added.
May is chairing a National Security Council meeting to hear the latest evidence and is expected to update British lawmakers Monday around 4:30 p.m. local time. A spokesperson from the prime minister’s office told Sky News the government will “respond” once they identify who is behind the poisoning.
“I think the cabinet…is very clear that this is an ongoing investigation, that it is important that we allow the police to get on with their work,” the spokesperson told Sky News. “If we get to a position when we’re able to attribute this attack then we will do so and the government will deliver an appropriate response.”
The Kremlin has rejected suggestions it was behind the poisoning, with officials saying Monday they have not heard any official statements of Russian involvement.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, told reporters Sergei Skripal worked for British intelligence and was poisoned on British soil, and therefore the incident “has nothing to do with Russia, let alone the Russian leadership.”
Skripal and his adult daughter, Yulia, remain in critical condition following the March 4 nerve agent attack in Salisbury. Both were found comatose on a bench near the city center.
The 66-year-old Skripal worked for Russian military intelligence before he was recruited to spy for Britain. He was eventually found out and imprisoned by Russia — before being freed in a spy swap in 2010.
A police detective who also became ill from the nerve agent was still hospitalized in serious condition Monday, but is reported by British officials to be sitting up and talking.
British officials said the risk to the public is low but urged people on Sunday to wash their clothes if they had patronized a restaurant and a pub where the Skripals are believed to have been before falling ill.
Authorities have not said what nerve agent was used or who is to blame.
Some officials, analysts and politicians have compared the case to the murder of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with radioactive tea in London in 2006. A British inquiry concluded the killing had “probably” been authorized by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.