ibusinesslines.com September 21, 2018

Britain demands answers from Russian Federation over second nerve agent poisoning

07 July 2018, 11:58 | Erica Roy

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

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

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said a crime lab found the eerie link.

It's not clear whether the park that's been cordoned off is the same park the Skripals were found in, although the ABC's London Bureau chief Lisa Millar says it was a park "the couple had been in".

While agents of the Novichok class were highly lethal, the program was only partly successful, as some of the components were as toxic as the military-grade nerve agents and thus hard to handle safely.

Various sites visited by the couple in Amesbury and Salisbury during Friday and Saturday are cordoned off by police.

The poisoning of the Skripals, who were found slumped over on a park bench in Salisbury, sparked a minor global incident, with the United Kingdom blaming Russian Federation and Moscow denying all responsibility.

"Following further tests of samples from the patients, we now know that they were exposed to the nerve agent after handling a contaminated item", the Met said.

The March attack prompted the biggest Western expulsion of Russian diplomats since the Cold War as allies sided with Britain's view that Moscow was either responsible or had lost control of the nerve agent. They are in critical condition in Salisbury District Hospital.

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.

Making clear that the United Kingdom will "stand up to the actions that threaten our security", he added: "It is completely unacceptable for our people to be either deliberate or accidental targets, or for our streets, our parks, our towns, to be dumping grounds for poison".

Officials said there was only a "low risk" to the wider public, but urged anyone who had visited the affected sites to wash their clothes and wipe down personal items. Initially, British authorities said there was "nothing" in the background of the Amesbury couple to suggest they were a target in the same way as the Skripals. Officers say they are keeping an open mind about what happened.

There is no evidence that the man and woman visited any of the sites that were decontaminated following the attempted murders of a former Russian spy and his daughter in March.

"The eyes of the world are now on Russian Federation, not least because of the World Cup", British Home Secretary Sajid Javid said on Thursday.

A friend of the couple, Sam Hobson, said after Ms Sturgess was taken to hospital, he and Mr Rowley went to a chemist in Amesbury to collect a prescription before going to an event at a nearby Baptist church.

- The UK reported the incident to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

"The working assumption would be that these are victims of either the effect of the previous attack, or something else, but not that they were directly targeted", security minister Ben Wallace told the BBC.

Mr Skripal and his daughter have since left hospital.

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