The poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, was not carried out by Russian assassins on UK soil, UK intelligence officials told The Telegraph. Instead, the poison was planted in his daughter’s suitcase before her departure from Moscow.

Yulia Skripal

Yulia Skripal Photo credit: Facebook

The Novichok nerve agent that killed Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, and his daughter Yulia, was planted in the latter’s suitcase just before she flew to the UK to visit her father, according to British intelligence officials quoted by The Telegraph.

The officials believe the poison was used to saturate the daughter’s clothes, cosmetics or a gift she had purchased. This assertion rules out the previous speculation that a team of Russian assassins acted on UK soil.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has called Russia’s denial of its responsibility for the poisoning of Skripal “smug” and “sarcastic,” saying the evidence is “overwhelming.” “They want to simultaneously deny it, yet at the same time to glory in it,” said Johnson.

“There is very little doubt in people’s minds that this is a signature act by the Russia state – deliberately using Novichok, a nerve agent developed by Russia to punish a Russian defector as they would see it, and in the run up to Vladimir Putin’s election,” he added.

On Thursday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry released a statement condemning the act, but refrained from blaming Russia directly. “Israel views the incident as very serious and strongly condemns it,” the statement said. “We hope the international community works together to prevent such incidents from reoccurring.”

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on Wednesday backed the UK’s claim that Russia is responsible for the poisoning. Speaking at a UN Security Council emergency session, Haley said the US “stands in absolute solidarity with Great Britain” and “believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent.”

Also on Wednesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats in response for the killing. The move, she said, “reflects the fact that this is not the first time that the Russian state has acted against our country.”