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Nerve agent used to poison Russian double agent was on his front door

Police officers put on protective clothing in a tent outside a vehicle recovery center as the investigation continues into the poisoning of former Russian Col. Sergei Skripal and his daughter on March 13 in Salisbury, England. British authorities are now saying that Skripal and his daughter first made contact with the nerve agent on Skripal's front door. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

British police report that former Russian Col. Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned when they came into contact with a nerve agent on the front door of Skripal’s home in Salisbury, England.

Now 24 days after the attack, Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, remain in critical condition.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon said in a statement: “At this point in our investigation, we believe the Skripals first came into contact with the nerve agent from their front door. We are therefore focusing much of our efforts in and around their address."

Here’s what you need to know

On March 4, Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent, which was later determined to be Russian-made Novichok. The two were found slumped on a bench near a shopping center in Salisbury, England. While in the Russian military, Skripal worked as a double agent for MI6, until he was discovered by the Russian government. He was later traded in a spy swap, and sought refuge in England.

At the time of the attack, The Telegraph reported that Skripal “had recently gone to police claiming he was fearing for his life.”

The nerve agent involved, Novichok, was specifically developed by the Russians during the Cold War.

On March 12, British Prime Minister Theresa May demanded that the Russian government explain how its tailor-made nerve agent ended up poisoning someone on British soil. May told the British Parliament that it was “likely” that the Russian government itself was behind the attack.

The Russian embassy in the U.K. responded with a series of mocking tweets dismissing May’s statements as “evidence free” and “a clear provocation.” The Russian government has also accused British intelligence of being behind the attack and trying to frame Russia for it.

In response to the Russian government’s refusal to cooperate with the investigation, the United States and 25 other nations have expelled more than 130 Russian diplomats.

Investigators said that they found traces of the Novichok nerve agent at several locations, but that the highest concentration was on the front door of Skripal’s home.

About 250 counterterrorism officials have been working on this more than three-week-long case, combing through more than 5,000 hours of CCTV footage, 1,350 pieces of evidence, and interviewing about 500 witnesses.

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