Chemical watchdog: Russian nerve agent used to poison ex-spy

Dr Christine Blanshard, Medical Director and Lorna Wilkinson, director of nursing make a statement

Chemical watchdog: Russian nerve agent used to poison ex-spy

The global chemical weapons watchdog on Thursday confirmed Britain's finding that a former spy and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent, as Russian Federation continues to deny suggestions that it was behind the attack. It was later found that the pair had been poisoned by the military-grade nerve agent, which is thought to have been produced by Soviet scientists.

The OPCW did not publically name the chemical, though it said it had identified it and its chemical structure in its secret report. The latter is concluded from the nearly complete absence of impurities.

Yulia Skripal has rebuffed attempts by Russian diplomats in London to gain consular access to her and also told a cousin in Moscow not to try and get in touch with her.

The Russian Embassy said Thursday that Yulia Skripal's statement was "carefully worded to support" the British narrative and isolate herself from the rest of the world.

The Skripals were in a critical condition for weeks after the March 4 attack before their health improved. The team also had access to the environmental samples collected by British investigators, which they used to test the UK's analytical processes and conclusions.

"There can be no doubt what was used and there remains no alternative explanation about who was responsible - only Russian Federation has the means, motive and record", Johnson said in a statement Thursday.

"In the interest of transparency, and because unlike the Russians we have nothing to hide, we have asked the OPCW to publish the executive summary for all to see and to circulate the full report to all state parties of the OPCW, including Russia".

The results will be discussed at an emergency OPCW session next Wednesday. "The Kremlin must give answers".

She said the United Kingdom sees the council meeting as an opportunity to update its members as well as the broader U.N. membership on the OPCW findings. The meeting is likely to take place next week, according to the tweet.

The spokeswoman noted that Russian Federation has "a number of questions" regarding the results of a recent OPCW investigation into the Skripal affair, but will not jump to conclusions until the full version of the report is released, and is "ready and open for joint work [on this issue]".

Georgy Kalamanov, Russia's deputy minister of industry and trade, told Interfax news agency Thursday it's impossible to pinpoint the agent's origin and reaffirmed Moscow's demand for a probe that would involve Russia.

Yulia Skripal, who was discharged from a Salisbury hospital Monday, rejected an offer for help from the Russian embassy in London, saying Wednesday she "did not wish to avail [herself] of their services" but that if she changed her mind, she knew how to contact them.

The Russian Embassy in London questioned the authenticity of Yulia's statement, saying it was crafted to support Britain's version of events and increases suspicions she is being held against her will.

"We must, as a world community, stand up for the rules based order which keeps us all safe. How comfortable they are at putting ordinary lives at risk". Russian Federation vehemently denies any involvement and has responded by expelling the same number of diplomats.

In recent days, Skripal's cousin, Viktoria Skripal, has weighed in on the case after being refused a British visa to visit her in the U.K. Last week, Viktoria released to Russian media a telephone conversation she said she recorded between her and Yulia, while her cousin was still in the hospital.

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