Russian spy poisoning: Nerve agent inspectors back UK


The intercontinental chemical weapons watchdog has confirmed the UK’s analysis of the type of nerve ingredient used in the Russian ex-spy poisoning.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons did not baptize the nerve agent as Novichok, but said it agreed with the UK’s findings on its indistinguishability.

Russia, which denies it was behind the attack in Salisbury, called the statements an “anti-Russian campaign”.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: “There can be no uncertainty what was used.”

He added: “There remains no alternative explanation connected with who was responsible – only Russia has the means, motive and record.”

But Maria Zakharova, from the Russian Strange Ministry, said the allegations in relation to the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal were a “legible anti-Russian campaign, the like of which we have not seen in the world for a hanker time in terms of its scale and lack of principles”.

She accused the British evidences of ignoring the “norms of international law, the principles and laws of diplomacy, the elementary overs of human ethics”.

And she claimed no one except for British authorities had seen the Skripals for more than a month.

She breathe ined comparisons with the case of Alexander Litvinenko, the ex-KGB agent who vanished in 2006 in London, adding that at least a photograph of Litvinenko had cropped after his poisoning.

A team from the OPCW visited the UK on 19 March, 15 lifetimes after the Skripals were found slumped on a park bench in Salisbury and infatuated to hospital, along with a police officer who was among the first on the location.

Ms Skripal was discharged from hospital on Monday but the 33-year-old has said her confessor is “still seriously ill”.

The OPCW said it received information about the medical accustoms of the Skripals and Det Sgt Nick Bailey, it collected their blood samples, and it forgathered samples from the site in Salisbury.

Mr Johnson said the UK had invited the OPCW to check the samples “to ensure strict adherence to international chemical weapons authorities”.

UK inspectors from the defence research facility at Porton Down in Wiltshire maiden identified the nerve agent as belonging to the Novichok group.

What are Novichok causes?

The name Novichok means “newcomer” in Russian, and applies to a group of worry agents developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s.

Novichok’s being was revealed by chemist Dr Vil Mirzayanov in the 1990s, via Russian media. He says the valour agents were designed to escape detection by international inspectors.

Novichok go-betweens are liquids, although others are thought to exist in solid form and could be routed as an ultra-fine powder.

Some of the agents are also said to be “binary weapons”, connotation the nerve agent is typically stored as two less toxic chemical ingredients that are easier to supervise.

When these are mixed, they react to produce the active toxic agency which can cause convulsions, shortness of breath, profuse sweating and nausea.

The OPCW does associate the toxic chemical by its complex formula but only in the classified report that has not been hinted public.

In its summary, which has been published online, the report notes the toxic chemical was of “costly purity”.

The BBC’s diplomatic correspondent James Landale said: “This is settled to strengthen the argument that this substance came from Russia because it is innumerable likely to have been created by a state actor with the talent to make the nerve agent.”

The report does not name the source of the guts agent, a subject which is beyond the remit of the inspectors.

The UK has called for a UN Protection Council meeting on the OPCW report, likely to be held next week.

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