Speed Reads


Niece says former Russian spy, poisoned by nerve agent, is in grave condition: 'I have maybe 1 percent of hope'

The former Russian spy and his daughter who were poisoned in Britain by a nerve agent have just a small chance of recovery, The Guardian reports. Sergei Skripal's niece, Viktoria Skripal, said her uncle and cousin's chance of pulling through "really isn't good." Speaking with BBC, she added "out of 99 percent, I have maybe 1 percent of hope."

The Skripals were poisoned by exposure to a nerve agent called Novichok, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has said. The incident has been widely blamed on Moscow. "Nerve agents disrupt normal messaging from the nerves to the muscles," BBC writes. "This causes muscles to become paralyzed and can lead to the loss of many bodily functions." The chemicals tend to be used in their liquid form, "which can seep through the skin."

"If you have ever sprayed insect repellent at a fly, you might have seen it drop to the ground and lie on its back, legs twitching," adds the BBC. "This is the result of nerve agents taking hold."

Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were hospitalized after being poisoned on March 4. "Whatever it was has given them a very small chance of survival," said Viktoria Skripal. "But they're going to be invalids for the rest of their lives.” More than 130 people could have potentially been exposed to the agent, authorities have said.