Experts unable to identify source of nerve agent used in Skripal attack

04 April, 2018, 01:45 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • Investigators now believe the Novichok attack happened at his home in Salisbury as detailed forensic testing revealed the highest concentration of Novichok was found on the front door

Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Porton Down defence laboratory, told Britain's Sky News that analysts had identified the substance as military-grade Novichok, the word used for a category of nerve agents developed in Soviet times.

"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 you have come to. We're reviewing our options", said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, who charged that the attack on the Skripals violated an worldwide chemical weapons ban.

"It's our job to provide the scientific evidence that identifies what the particular nerve agent is".

Moscow has angrily denied any involvement.

"Unfortunately this is an extremely toxic substance".

Russia's President Vladimir Putin, listens to a reporter's question during a joint news conference with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, following their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Ankara.

"The Russian Federation has not informed us that it intends to reduce the total number of personnel allowed in our bilateral Mission", a State Department spokesman said in a statement.

Putin said there were 20 countries that could manufacture the nerve agent, adding he was "surprised at the speed with which the anti-Russian campaign was promoted and accelerated".

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Evgeny Buzhinskiy has warned the expelling of diplomats over the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia is creating a situation which is "worse than the Cold War".

After the first known use of a military-grade nerve agent on European soil since World War Two, Britain blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the attempted murder, and the West has expelled around 130 Russian diplomats. "It certainly isn't anything that came from our facility", he said.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "As the Prime Minister has made clear, the United Kingdom would much rather have in Russian Federation a constructive partner ready to play by the rules".

The comments come a day ahead of an extraordinary meeting in The Hague of the executive council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to discuss the Salisbury attack. Both the West and Russian Federation have expelled over 150 envoys each in the dispute.

The Trump administration's decision followed the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from the U.K. Russia responded to those expulsions by kicking an equal number of British officials out of Russia.

So far, 29 countries, including Ireland, have expelled Russian diplomats in response to the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, England on March 4.

Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence agent convicted of spying for Britain, and his daughter were found unconscious and critically ill in the English cathedral city of Salisbury a month ago.

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