Nerve Agent Used on Ex-Russian Spy a 'Horror' Poison

California National Guard troops in hazmat suits

California National Guard troops in hazmat suits

Russian president Vladimir Putin was "closely involved" in his country's chemical weapons program which tested a way to poison assassination targets by applying nerve toxins to door handles, the United Kingdom says. 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.

The news which has been hailed as a significant milestone, comes just over a month after the pair were found slumped over on a park bench in the English city, after they were poisoned by a deadly nerve agent.

However, Georgy Kalamanov, Russia's deputy minister of industry and trade, said it was impossible to pinpoint the nerve agent's origin and reiterated Moscow's demand for a fresh investigation with Russian involvement.

Earlier Britain's top military laboratory the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down ascertained that the toxic agent used to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia was the chemical nerve agent Novichok developed in the former USSR and Russian Federation.

"Only Russia has the means, motive and record", Johnson said.

Mark Sedwill said in a letter to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday that email accounts of Yulia had been targeted in 2013 by cyber specialists from Russia's GRU military intelligence service.

But Mr Sedwill's letter suggested the nerve agent used was most likely to have been made at a laboratory in Shikhany, near Volgograd, a branch of the State Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology.

"It is highly likely that Novichoks were developed to prevent detection by the West and to circumvent global weapons controls", he said. 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".

Russia, which denies it was behind the attack in Salisbury, called the allegations an "anti-Russian campaign". "It is unlikely that Novichoks could be made and deployed by non-state actors (eg a criminal or terrorist group), especially at the level of purity confirmed by OPCW". Alexander Yakovenko told reporters.

Russian Federation denies the British claims about Novichok, saying that it completed the destruction of all its Soviet-era chemical weapons arsenals past year under global oversight.

Skripal had moved to Britain in 2010 as part of a spy exchange after being imprisoned in Russian Federation for selling secrets to British intelligence while he was working for the GRU.

A British police officer took ill after helping the Skripals.

She also said she would give interviews to the media in time, but asked the press to have patience while she recovers.

Refuting claims by the Russian embassy in London that she had been kidnapped by Britain, she said she was safe and could speak freely.

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