Skripals poisoned with nerve agent, confirms OPCW


An worldwide chemical weapons watchdog has confirmed Britain's findings about the suspected nerve agent used to poison a former Russian double agent and his daughter. In addition, experts report that toxic agent was highly pure, but do not reveal, however, specific name of poison.

There can be no doubt what was used and there remains no alternative explanation about who was responsible. The Kremlin must give answers.

That information and details about its structure would be in a classified report shared with OPCW signatories, it said.

There are several variants of Novichok, a binary weapon containing two less-toxic chemicals that, when mixed, react to produce a poison several times more lethal than sarin or VX.Russia's ambassador to Britain, Alexander Yakovenko, has identified the alleged poison as Novichok A-234, derived from an earlier version known as A-232.

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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.

'Everyone knows about the UK's information warfare against Russian Federation over the Skripal case, ' said spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. She insisted it was up to Britain to prove "that these people aren't being held hostage and are not taking part in some terrible game".

He said: "We want to meet Yulia and we want proof that she is alright and is in good condition". The embassy posted on Twitter on Tuesday: "We need urgent proof that what is being done to her is done on her own free will".

The posting was made three days after the Salisbury attack - when Miss Skripal, 33, pictured, was heavily sedated in hospital - leading to suspicions her account may have been hacked.

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Moscow on Thursday said it would not accept the conclusions of the global chemical arms watchdog, unless Russian experts are given access to the samples used.

Ex-Russian scientist Vil Mirzayanov says the hitman who carried out the attack failed to kill their victims because the Novichok was "washed off the door handle". "At the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services, but if I change my mind I know how to contact them". In a diplomatic row that followed a number of Western countries "in a gesture of solidarity" with Britain expelled Russian diplomats.

In the wake of the Skripal incident, the UK, as well as a number of European Union member countries, the United States, Canada and Australia, expelled more than 100 Russian diplomats, forcing Moscow to respond in kind.

The letter also claims President Vladimir Putin was closely involved in the Russian chemical weapons programme in the mid-2000s, and that it was "highly unlikely" any former Soviet republic other than Russia pursued chemical weapons after independence.

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