Novichok Was Used in Skripal Attack, Chemical Weapons Watchdog Confirms

Marsha Scott
April 13, 2018

Britain blamed Russian Federation for the attack, and Moscow fervently denied the accusations.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow would not believe any conclusions about the poisoning unless Russian experts were given access to the investigation.

Zakharova charged that British officials were keeping Skripal's daughter in isolation. She said Moscow will continue to press Britain to share evidence in the case.

Testing by four laboratories affiliated with the global chemical weapons watchdog have confirmed British findings on the nerve agent used in March's attack on a former Russian spy in the United Kingdom, according to a summary of the findings published on Thursday.

"We have called a session of the OPCW Executive Council next Wednesday to discuss next steps". She said the Security Council meeting "will most probably be on Wednesday afternoon".

Skripal and his daughter were found on March 4 unconscious in a bank of streets of British town of Salisbury.

Moscow has hit back by expelling Western diplomats, questioning how Britain knows that Russian Federation was responsible and suggesting it stemmed from a plot by British secret services.

"The high purity of the substance will strengthen the UK's position that the agent was made by a highly proficient team and in a well refined process", said Alastair Hay, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Toxicology at Britain's University of Leeds.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a toxic chemical, a report from the OPCW said.

Johnson said the chemical "was a military grade nerve agent - a Novichok", a group of deadly chemical compounds reportedly developed by the Soviet government in the 1970s and 1980s.

Russia's Embassy in London questioned the authenticity of Yulia's statement, saying it was crafted to support Britain's version of events and increases suspicions that she is being held against her will.

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Responding to the summary, Moscow said that it had reason to think the report was part of a British operation to discredit Russian Federation.

OPCW reports that the substance was "high purity" given "the nearly complete absence of impurities".

"There can be no doubt what was used and there remains no alternative explanation about who was responsible".

"The results of analysis by OPCW-designated laboratories of environmental and biomedical samples confirm the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury and severely injured three people", the summary said.

"The chemical weapons watchdog did not explicitly name Novichok in its published summary, say where the poison may have come from or assign blame for the attack".

The agency also did not name Novichok as the nerve agent, unlike British Prime Minister Theresa May who cited the Soviet-engineered chemical as the one used in the attack.

It does not identify the source.

Making a specific reference to her Russia-based cousin, Viktoria, she said that "her opinions and assertions are not mine and they are not my father's".

Britain's Foreign Office says it has asked the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to publish a summary of its findings at midday on Thursday.

In a statement issued through British police on Wednesday, Yulia Skripal said she did not now want any help from the embassy, adding, "I am safe and feeling better as time goes by".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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