Friday, 20 April, 2018

Chemical arms watchdog to meet over UK-Russia spy poison case

Mr Skripal had asked his daughter to bring it back from Moscow when she returned the day before the nerve agent attack on March 4 but she forgot and asked a friend to buy it instead Russian ambassador to Ireland to host briefing on Skripal case
Charlie Simmons | 04 April, 2018, 01:44

Scientists at the U.K's Porton Down lab have identified the poison as a Soviet-developed type of nerve agent known as Novichok, and the British government says the only plausible explanation is that it came from Russian Federation.

Mr Aitkenhead flatly denied Russian claims the substance could have come from Porton Down itself.

Russian President Vladimir Putin rebuffed the UK's claims at a news conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Tuesday, referencing Porton Down's assessment.

"Russia's response was not unanticipated and the will deal with it", the White House said in a statement without elaborating.

Skripal, 66, and Yulia, 33, were poisoned on March 4 after being exposed to a nerve agent in Salisbury, England.

The UK Embassy in Russia has refused to comment on the order of the Russian side to cut its diplomatic staff by more than 50 people amid the controversy caused by the so-called Skripal case.

The UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats after Theresa May accused Russia of behind the horrific attack in Salisbury.

"We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions".

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A United Kingdom government spokesperson on Tuesday reiterated Britain's assertion that Russian Federation was responsible for the nerve agent attack, saying that the Porton Down lab's research is "only one part of the intelligence picture". "We identified that it is from this particular family and that it is a military grade, but it is not our job to say where it was manufactured". "We spoke about it in brief, Mr. President asked some questions about it", Putin said.

"We've got the highest levels of security and controls".

London is basing its accusations on allegations that Moscow has been researching ways to deliver nerve agents, "probably for assassination", and on the assumption that it "views former intelligence officers as targets", a UK Foreign Office statement says.

Porton Down was able to advise doctors on the best treatment to mitigate its effects on the Skripals and Wiltshire policeman Nick Bailey, who was affected after coming to their aid, he said.

Evgeny Buzhinskiy - who served in the Russian military for more than 40 years - said the row between Britain and Putin was creating a situation "worse than the Cold War". "It would be the last war in the history of mankind".

"Russia is interested in establishing the whole truth of the matter", he said.

"But this attack in Salisbury was part of a pattern of increasingly aggressive Russian behaviour, as well as a new and unsafe phase in Russian activity within the continent and beyond".

The tensions also are an outgrowth of USA sanctions on Russian Federation for meddling in the 2016 US elections.

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