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Watchdog confirms nerve agent was used to poison ex-Russian spy

15 April 2018
Watchdog confirms nerve agent was used to poison ex-Russian spy

"It is highly likely that Novichoks were developed to prevent detection by the West and to circumvent global chemical weapons controls", he said.

In its report, the OPCW said it had been able to collect blood samples from the Skripals and Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey who was also hospitalised in the incident, plus environmental samples from contaminated "hot spots".

Novichok is a powerful class of nerve agents the Soviet Union developed in the 1980s.

Russia's ambassador to the, Alexander Yakovenko, dismissed the charges Friday as unfounded and untrue.

Testing by OPCW laboratories, the details of which were kept confidential, also found the substance used in Salisbury to be of "a high purity", which supports the British government's assertion that a state was involved.

He said a programme set up in Russian Federation in the 2000s trained personnel from "special units" in the use of chemical warfare agents - including investigating how nerve agents could be administered through door handles.

"Mr. Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russian Federation", specifically from the Novichok group, British Prime Minister Theresa May said following an immediate assessment by British experts.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called the results "conclusive", despite the fact the OPCW offered no opinion on who carried out the attack. "We will now work closely with our partners to clarify grotesque use of this weapon and convene OPCW council to discuss next steps", Johnson said Thursday through a statement collected by Reuters.

Russian Foreign Ministry information and press director Maria Zakharova said the allegations in relation to the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal were a "clear anti-Russian campaign, the like of which we have not seen in the world for a long time in terms of its scale and lack of principles".

Almost a month after the pair were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, Yulia has been discharged from hospital and her father Sergei is no longer in a critical condition.

Ryabkov said Russian Federation would not give its view on the report before being able to study it, TASS reported.

Moscow on Thursday said it feared the United Kingdom had forcibly detained Yulia Skripal, who was poisoned along with her father in England last month and on Wednesday refused Russian consular assistance.

The poisoning of father and daughter comes against the backdrop of an escalating confrontation between Russian Federation and the West over Syria.

He said: "We want to meet Yulia and we want proof that she is alright and is in good condition".

"We didn't produce Novichok, we never have - that's the official position", he said.

In her statement, she said that she has been made aware of the Russian embassy's attempts to contact her but she did not wish to avail of their services for the moment.