This timeline shows exactly how Sergei Skripal went from spying for Russia to the centre of an attempted assassination storm in Britain

Sergei Skripal, a double intelligence agent for Russia and Britain, was taken critically ill after being exposed to Novichok, a Russian-made nerve agent.

He and his daughter Yulia collapsed on a bench in Salisbury, south England, on March 4. They remain in critical condition.

Prime Minister Theresa May has accused Russia of being behind the attempted assassination. The Kremlin has vehemently denied any knowledge.

Scroll down to learn more about Skripal, and see exactly how he went from working for Russian intelligence to fighting for his life at a hospital in Britain.


Sergei Skripal, who’s now 66, started passing Russian state secrets to the UK in 1990s. Not much is known about his life before that.

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Sergei Skripal in 2006, in footage obtained by Sky News.
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Sky News

1995 — British spies recruit Skripal while he is a Russian military intelligence officer. He starts passing Russian state secrets to Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6.

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The headquarters of the British Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, in Vauxhall, London.
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Oli Scarff / Getty

Source: BBC


His leaks include the identities of dozens of Russian agents in Europe. This information is later used to surveil and later expel the agents from multiple European countries.

Source: BBC

See more: Russia probably has more undercover ‘sleeper’ agents who can assassinate Western targets today than during the Cold War


1999 — Skripal leaves the military, having reached the rank of colonel. He keeps passing on state secrets even after his retirement, according to the FSB. He joins the Russian foreign ministry.

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The building of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow.
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Alex ‘Florstein’ Fedorov via Wikimedia Commons

Source: BBC, The Guardian


2003 — Skripal leaves the foreign ministry. It’s not entirely clear whether he is still passing on Russian state secrets to the UK.


2004 — Skripal is taken into custody near his home in Moscow. He reportedly tells FSB agents after the arrest: “You outplayed me.”

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Sergei Skripal in 2004, in footage obtained by Sky News.
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Sky News

Source: BBC, The Guardian


August 2006 — Skripal pleads guilty and is convicted of “high treason in the form of espionage.” He is stripped of all his titles and medals, and sentenced to 13 years in jail in Moscow for spying for Britain.

Source: BBC


July 8, 2010 — Skripal is pardoned by then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. He and three other spies are released from Russia to the UK and US, in exchange for 10 Russian “sleeper” agents from the US. It is the biggest spy swap between the US and Russia since the Cold War.

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FBI mugshots of the ten Russian agents who the US gave away in the 2010 spy swap.
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FBI

Source: The Guardian, Reuters, BBC


July 9, 2010 — The four Russians are flown to Vienna, Austria, for a Cold War-style “spy swap” that lasts 90 minutes. This photo shows the Russian and US planes transporting them, parked side by side on the tarmac.

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A Russian and US aircraft on the tarmac at Vienna Airport during the spy exchange.
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Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters

Source: BBC


Skripal and Igor Sutyagin, another Russian, are flown to a Royal Air Force base in Oxfordshire in a spy exchange with the US. They are kept undercover at a hotel nearby for debriefing.

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Skripal and Sutyagin were taken to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
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Google Maps/Business Insider

Source: The Guardian


2011 — Skripal and his wife, Liudmilla, buy a semi-detached home in Salisbury. Skripal’s family came to Britain to settle with him after the spy exchange.

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Police officers stand outside the Sergei Skripal’s house in Salisbury, England. It is not clear if this is the property they bought in 2011.
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Dan Kitwood/Getty

Yulia moves back to Moscow at some point.


October 23, 2012 — Skripal’s wife, Liudmila, dies of cancer. She lived with Sergei in Wiltshire after he was swapped and granted asylum after the spy exchange.

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Liudmila Skripal’s grave in Salisbury.
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Toby Melville/Reuters

2017 — Skripal’s 43-year-old son dies in St Petersburg, where he is on holiday with his girlfriend. It’s unclear exactly how he died: The BBC said he was rushed to hospital with liver failure, while Sky News said it was a car crash.

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Ninara/Flickr

Source: BBC


February 2018 — Skripal calls his mother, who is very ill. He reportedly sounds optimistic, although he has been vigilant since the 2010 spy swap.

Source: BBC


February 27, 2018, 12:46 p.m. — Skripal is seen buying groceries and scratchcards near his Salisbury home, according to CCTV footage.


March 3, 2:40 p.m. — Skripal’s 33-year-old daughter Yulia arrives in the UK via London Heathrow Airport. Relatives said she was visiting from Moscow.


March 4, 2018, 1:40 p.m. — Skripal, now 66, and Yulia arrive at The Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, via the upper-level car park. They head to the Bishop’s Mill pub.

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Police officers stand outside a pub near to where former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious after they had been exposed to an unknown substance, in Salisbury, Britain, March 7, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville
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Toby Melville/Reuters

2:20 p.m. — They leave the pub and go to Zizzi, an Italian restaurant in the shopping centre. They stay here until 3:35 p.m. CCTV footage shows them walking around 3:47 p.m.

Source: BBC

See more: CCTV footage shows ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal on the night he was allegedly poisoned in Britain


4:15 p.m. — A member of the public calls the police after seeing the pair. Police arrive to find the pair in “serious condition” on a bench outside Zizzi.

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A forensic tent stands over a bench where Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found collapsed.
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Dan Kitwood/Getty

Source: Wiltshire Police


March 5, 2018 — Wiltshire Police declares a “major incident.”

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Investigators in protective suits near the forensic tent placed over the bench where the Skripals were found.
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REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Source: Wiltshire Police


12 p.m. (approx) — UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says Britain will “respond appropriately and robustly” if evidence emerges of Russia’s involvement in Skripal’s suspected poisoning.

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Johnson stands in front of St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow in December 2017.
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Stefan Rousseau/Pool/Getty

See more: Boris Johnson promises to ‘bring Russia to heel’ following the alleged poisoning of Sergei Skripal


2:11 p.m. — The UK’s national counterterrorism police say they are leading the investigation into the suspected poisoning. London’s Metropolitan Police says it has not been declared a terrorist incident and that it was keeping an “open mind as to what happened.”

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Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley.
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Thomson Reuters

See more: UK counter-terror police are now leading the investigation into the suspected poisoning of a former Russian spy


March 12 — Theresa May reveals that the Skripals were poisoned with a Russian-made nerve agent called Novichok, and calls on Russia to give a “credible response” to her announcement.

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Parliament Live TV

Read more: Theresa May has accused Russia of being behind the attempted assassination of a double agent in the UK


As of March 13, Sergei and Yulia Skripal remain in critical condition.

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Salisbury District Hospital, where the Skripals were taken after being found in critical condition.
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Matt Cardy/Getty