Britain demands answers from Russian Federation over second nerve agent poisoning

Police officers stand at a cordon around an area of grass after two people in their 40s were poisoned in the UK. Source Getty ImagesMore

The British couple who mysteriously fell ill over the weekend tested positive for Novichok - the same poison that nearly killed a Russian spy and his daughter who lived just a few miles away, police said Sunday.

The couple, named locally as Dawn Sturgess 44, and Charlie Rowley, 45 were taken to Salisbury District Hospital on Saturday and are in a critical condition.

The second nerve agent emergency in four months has prompted a diplomatic row, with British Home Secretary Sajid Javid accusing Russian Federation of using Britain as a "dumping ground for poison". Police said there was no evidence the latest victims had visited any of the sites linked to the Skripals, which have since been decontaminated.

After several months in the hospital, both Sergei and Yulia have recovered, but many questions about the perpetrators and their motives remain.

The new victims were found in Amesbury, England, just a few miles from the scene of the alleged assassination attempt in March, and officials now believe they are likely secondary, unintended victims of that attack.

Regarding this latest incident, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that Russian Federation has "categorically denied and continues to categorically deny the possibility of any kind of involvement".

"The Novichok gel that was smeared on the handle of the Skripals' house was presumably transported in some device or syringe", he said.

Amesbury is about 12 kms from Salisbury, where the Skripals were found slumped on a bench in March in an incident that sparked a bitter diplomatic crisis with Russian Federation.

"It is not believed that there is a significant health risk to the public".

They later confirmed that it was the nerve agent Novichok. They spent weeks in hospital before being discharged. The officer added that after tests at the Porton Down facility, which assisted in diagnosing the poisoning in Salisbury, scientists recognized the use of "the same nerve agent that contaminated both Yulia and Sergei Skripal".

In a statement to the House of Commons, Mr Javid said: "The eyes of the world are now on Russian Federation, not least because of the World Cup".

Already, Russian officials have denied they had anything to do with the latest poisoning in the United Kingdom, albeit unprompted by British authorities who have made no allegations against Moscow.

Russian Federation responded to the criticism from London by saying Britain was trying to frame Moscow for the latest poisoning.

Mr. Basu said that around 100 detectives from the Counter Terrorism Policing Network are now working on this investigation, alongside colleagues from Wiltshire Police. "They are the ones who could fill in all the clues to keep people safe".

Novichok is a military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Paramedics were called to the home after the woman collapsed and they returned later with fire and rescue officers when the man also became ill.

The Skripals' illness initially baffled doctors after they were found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury in March.



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