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United Kingdom scientists unable to identify Russian Federation as source for nerve agent

04 April 2018, 01:18 | Myrtle Vega

Russian ambassador to Ireland to host briefing on Skripal case

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

Scientists at the 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.

Gary Aitkenhead Chief Executive of the Porton Down defence laboratory handling the case investigation said that analysts had identified it (nerve agent) as military-grade Novichok but they had not proved that it was made in Russian Federation as per news outlet France 24.

Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive at Porton Down, told Sky News it was "not our job" to specify the source of the poison.

"We certainly reject any notion or claim of Russian involvement in the Salisbury incident".

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.

"Yury Filatov, Russia's ambassador to Ireland, says Moscow asked the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons "to call an extraordinary session" at its headquarters in The Hague".

Lavrov also assailed the British authorities for stonewalling Russia's request for consular access to Yulia Skripal, 33, a Russian citizen whose condition has improved since she and her father fell critically ill on March 4.

He said: "It is a cold war".

The identification of Novichok was a key plank in the evidence presented by United Kingdom prime minister Theresa May's ability to recruit global support in the dispute with Moscow, resulting in the expulsion of more than 100 Russian diplomats from over 20 countries.

"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", Aitkenhead said.

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He noted that Porton Down was responsible for identifying the nerve agent and providing scientific information to the government, but not for concluding where the poison was made.

A top Russian diplomat says the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian spy may have been arranged by Britain to justify military spending.

Aitkenhead said Tuesday that the attack with a highly toxic Novichok nerve agent was "probably only within the capabilities of a state actor".

"There is no way anything like that could have come from us or left the four walls of our facility", said Mr Aitkenhead. "We have the highest standards of control".

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.

If tensions between Russia and its Western counterparts continue, they could lead to "the last war in the history of mankind", a former Russian general has warned.

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".

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

"They have to be answered so far the only thing which is clear to us, that the British government made a decision to put the blame for the Salisbury incident on Russian Federation without presenting any evidence to that effect", he said.



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