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undergroundnewsroom.com April 26, 2018


Source of nerve agent not yet identified, UK defense lab says

05 April 2018, 12:52 | Damon Campbell

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

"We were able to identify it as Novichok, to identify that it was military-grade nerve agent", Porton Down chief executive Gary Aitkenhead told Sky News.

"We provided the scientific information to the government, who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions they have come to", Mr. Aitkenhead said.

Aitkenhead added that while his lab - better known as Porton Down after its secretive site in southern England - has been tasked with examining the chemical, "it's not our job to then see where it was actually manufactured".

He then told DW.com: "People from Porton Down, they were absolutely categorical".

In a similar vein, the Foreign Office Tweeted that "no other country has a combination of the capability, the intent, and the motive to carry out such an act".

"We hope to discuss the whole matter and call on Britain to provide every possible element of evidence they might have in their hands", Russia's ambassador to Ireland, Yury Filatov, told reporters ahead of the OPCW meeting.

Speaking at a security conference in the Russian capital, Mr Naryshkin claimed the Skripals' poisoning was a "grotesque provocation rudely staged by the British and USA intelligence agencies".

The UK government has long pointed fingers at Russian Federation for the attack against the former double agent and his daughter on British soil. Russia's embassy in London responded that Porton Down's assessment "proves that all political declarations on the Russian origin of the crime are nothing but assumptions not stemming from objective facts or the course of the investigation".

He added: "It is our job to provide the scientific evidence of what this particular nerve agent is".

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"There is no way anything like that could have come from us or left the four walls of our facility", he said. But Porton Down has "the highest levels of security and controls" and was regularly monitored by the OPCW.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the world's chemical watchdog, will meet Wednesday to discuss Britain's allegations that Russian Federation was responsible for the poisoning, according to documents released on Tuesday.

"This is only one part of the intelligence picture", a spokesperson said.

The daughter, Yulia, has been "rapidly improving", according to the hospital treating her.

Putin reaffirmed that Russia wanted to take part in the investigation, noting that the victims of the poisoning - Skripal and his daughter Yulia - were both Russian nationals.

Ahmet Uzumcu, the director-general of the OPCW, used the meeting to announce he expects to receive the results of his organisation's own independent analysis of samples from Salisbury by early next week.

"We have an interest in a full investigation and want Russian Federation to be allowed to take part in that investigation", he said.



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