Watchdog confirms nerve agent was used to poison ex-Russian spy

Watchdog confirms nerve agent was used to poison ex-Russian spy

He said that claim was "extremely suspicious" because the highly volatile A-234 nerve agent could not have been found at the scene in large quantities given that more than two weeks had passed between the attack and the collection of the samples.

United Kingdom inspectors from the defence research facility at Porton Down in Wiltshire first identified the nerve agent as belonging to the Novichok group.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said there was "no alternative explanation" when it came to culpability for the apparent attack on the father and daughter on March 4 in the British cathedral city of Salisbury, where they were found slumped comatose on a public bench.

The nerve agent attack on two people in England "demonstrates how reckless Russian Federation is prepared to be, how little the Kremlin cares for the global rules-based order", one of Britain's intelligence chiefs said Thursday, in an unusually public and scathing commentary on a foreign power.

He said the watchdog's findings were based on testing in four independent, highly reputable laboratories around the world, all of which returned the same "conclusive" results.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a statement that the OPCW's conclusion showed "There can be no doubt what was used and there remains no alternative explanation about who was responsible - only Russian Federation has the means, motive and record".

The Kremlin has also been linked to the deaths of numerous prominent Russian dissidents and Mr Sedwill said "Russia has a proven record of conducting state-sponsored assassination".

"We have called a session of the OPCW Executive Council next Wednesday to discuss next steps".

However, Georgy Kalamanov, Russia's deputy minister of industry and trade, said it was impossible to pinpoint the nerve agent's origin and reiterated Moscow's demand for a fresh investigation with Russian involvement.

The country's authorities determined that y had been poisoned by a Soviet-era nerve agent and accused Russian Federation of it.

The UK and 30 other nations have expelled 150 Russian diplomats in retaliation.

The report comes a day after Yulia Skripal, 33, said that she had a "a totally different life than the ordinary one I left just over a month ago". She also addressed comments made by her cousin Viktoria in the Russian media, asking her not to contact or visit her in the UK.

In a letter to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, Sir Mark also revealed that intelligence chiefs had identified the laboratory where Novichok is believed to have been developed in the Soviet Union and said that after its collapse Russian Federation had continued producing the toxin.

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