Chemical weapons body backs United Kingdom over nerve-agent attack on spy

Saturday, 14 Apr, 2018

Britain's United Nations ambassador is asking for a Security Council meeting next week on the worldwide chemical weapons watchdog's report confirming British findings that a military-grade nerve agent of high purity was used to poison a former spy and his daughter.

The group, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, released a report saying that its laboratory analysis of "environmental and biomedical samples" that its experts had collected "confirm the findings of United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical". The letter also claims to know that Russian agents tested the effectiveness of nerve agents by smearing them on door handles as part of Foliant, an alleged secret chemical weapons program.

Britain and its allies have blamed Russia for the March 4 attack that left former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in critical condition. The correspondence was published following repeated calls from the Kremlin to provide evidence that Russian Federation was behind the attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

She revealed she has rejected assistance from the Russian embassy.

The global watchdog's hotly anticipated report Thursday also noted that the toxic chemical - which the group declined to name in the unclassified report - had an "almost complete absence of impurities".

It said specialists at Russia's GRU military intelligence agency, also accused of hacking Democratic emails released during the 2016 US election, targeted the email of Yulia Skripal at least as far back as 2013.

Russia's ambassador to Britain, Alexander Yakovenko, said in response: "If someone was spying, why were the British services not complaining about that?"

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

The embassy says the statement released Wednesday by the Metropolitan Police Service on behalf of Yulia Skripal strengthens suspicions she is being held against her will.

Russian Federation spied on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia for five years and tested poison on door handles, Downing Street has claimed in a letter to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. The Kremlin must give answers. "About 20 countries could have developed this chemical material - why have they pointed at Russian Federation?"

"We have every reason to believe this could be a question of the deliberate, forcible detention of a Russian citizen or possibly their coercion into a staged announcement", Zakharova said. The text is clearly drawn up in such a way as to support the official statements of the British authorities and at the same time to exclude any possibility of Yulia's contact with the outside world. Yulia, 33, was discharged from hospital earlier this week, while her father is still receiving treatment and is said to be improving rapidly.