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Porton Down could not verify source of Salisbury nerve agent
04 April 2018, 01:19 | Damon Campbell
Russian proposal for joint Salisbury toxin inquiry 'perverse': Britain
Scientists from Porton Down have not been able to establish where the novichok nerve agent used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal was made.
Testing had shown that it was military grade nerve agent but it could not be shown to have come from Russian Federation, said Gary Aitkenhead, the chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down.
A United Kingdom government spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday: "We have been clear from the very beginning that our world-leading experts at Porton Down identified the substance used in Salisbury as a Novichok, a military grade nerve agent".
Putin said, given the lack of precise information about the agent's origin, "the speed at which the anti-Russian campaign has been launched causes bewilderment". He added Moscow had "no outstanding issues" against the 66-year-old Skripal.
Police said they had been exposed to a nerve agent.
Former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain in hospital following the March 4 incident.
Russia's top diplomat also mocked Britain's claim that there was no plausible alternative explanation for the poisonings of the Skripals.
"They have to be answered so far the only thing which is clear to us, that the British government chose to put the blame for the Salisbury incident on Russian Federation without presenting any evidence to that effect", he said.
The location of manufacture "can be established through a number of different input sources which the Government has access to", he said, adding: "From our perspective, scientific evidence is only one of those sources, and it requires a number of other things to verify that".
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The British government has said the only plausible explanation was that it came from Russian Federation and blamed Russian Federation for the attack on the former double agent and his adult daughter.
A government spokesperson said on Tuesday: "We have been clear from the very beginning that our world leading experts at Porton Down identified the substance used in Salisbury as a Novichok, a military grade nerve agent".
The global chemical weapons watchdog agency has said it will meet Wednesday to discuss Britain's US -backed allegation that Russian Federation is responsible for the poisoning of a former double agent in England.
France expelled four Russian diplomats last week over the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal.
Britain blames Russian Federation for the pair's poisoning with a Soviet-developed nerve agent.
The trio of Baltic leaders came to the White House with what officials described as a series of concrete steps to deter Russian aggression.
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. British authorities suspect Skripal was poisoned by a Soviet-made nerve agent.
Trump reiterated his long-standing call for better relations with Moscow, despite a series of conflagrations and crises, including Russian meddling in the U.S. election and the poisoning of a Russian double agent on British soil.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko called the poisoning a "provocation arranged by Britain" in order to justify high military spending because "they need a major enemy".
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