Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Experts haven't found 'precise source' of nerve agent used on spy

Skripals GETTY SKRIPALS Yulia and Sergei were found collapsed on a bench in Salisbury
Ray Hunter | 04 April, 2018, 01:45

Mr Buzhinsky claimed it was "nonsense" Russia was behind the attack as President Vladimir Putin had no benefit out of the attack, which took place before the Russian Presidential election.

More than 100 Russian diplomats have been expelled form western countries from across the globe in response the United Kingdom accusing Russia for being responsible for a military grade nerve-agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

Putin said he was astonished at how rapidly the anti-Russian campaign has been whipped up on the backdrop of the Skripal case.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Skripal's poisoning was "in the UK's interests" and accused the West of playing "children's games".

Vladimir Chizhov said Tuesday "this distractive maneuver could have been aimed at the British society, which has remained split after the 2016 Brexit referendum".

The UK government has long pointed fingers at Russian Federation for the attack against the former double agent and his daughter on British soil.

Moscow alleged that British intelligence agencies could have been behind the poisoning. He added Moscow had "no outstanding issues" against the 66-year-old Skripal.

Britain has also suspended high-level diplomatic contact with Moscow.

A French diplomatic official said Tuesday that Britain had informed France about the details of its investigation.

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.

The official told The Associated Press that France would not respond to Russian Federation until Moscow answers questions posed by Britain's government on March 12.

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"We were able to identify it as Novichok, to identify that it was military grade nerve agent".

Gary Aitkenhead, the chief executive of the Government's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), said the poison had been identified as a military-grade Novichok nerve agent which could probably be deployed only by a nation-state.

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

The OPCW will meet to discuss Britain's allegations that Russian Federation was responsible for the poisoning, according to documents released on Tuesday.

Aitkenhead then hinted towards the involvement of a state actor in the manufacturing of the nerve agent, while pointing out at the sophisticated methods deployed in the manufacturing of the poisonous agent.

But Britain's foreign ministry accused Russian Federation of requesting the meeting to undermine the organisation's investigation.

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. The organization says the meeting will be held at 0800GMT Wednesday.

Military personnel investigating the Skripal attack wear protective suits in Salisbury on March 11, 2018.

"We hope to discuss the whole matter and call on Britain to provide every possible element of evidence they might have in their hands", said the Russian ambassador to Ireland, Yury Filatov. British authorities suspect Skripal was poisoned by a Soviet-made nerve agent.

Russian President, facing a stuttering economy and an unusual show of Western unity that included even states traditionally friendly towards Moscow, appeared to have stuck to the diplomatic playbook with the symmetrical response.

So far 29 nations have expelled diplomats over the poisoning, which the British government holds Russian Federation responsible for.

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