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British experts unable to identify origins of substance that poisoned Skripals

Staff Writer | April 4, 2018
Experts from the British Porton Down chemical weapons research center have been unable to identify the origin of the nerve agent used to poison former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, Sky News reported.
Tensions   Experts from the British Porton Down
They were citing Chief Executive of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down Gary Aitkenhead.

"We were able to identify it as novichok, to identify that it was military-grade nerve agent," he said.

"We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions," Aitkenhead added.

He also pointed out that "it is our job to provide the scientific evidence of what this particular nerve agent is, we identified that it is from this particular family and that it is a military-grade, but it is not our job to say where it was manufactured."

Apart from that, the British chemical weapons laboratory denied involvement in Skripals' poisoning.

When asked if the lab had developed or kept stocks of this substance, Aitkenhead said that "there is no way anything like that could have come from us or left the four walls of our facility."

British experts’ conclusion on the substance used to poison former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal comes as no surprise as the formula of the substance is widely known, Russian Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said.

"Personally, I am not surprised by this conclusion because the substance they call Novichok - which, as I understand, refers to a whole category of substances - is widely known," the Russian ambassador said, adding that its formula is even available on the Internet.

Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that British Prime Minister Theresa May and the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will have to offer its apologies to Moscow but "the idiocy has gone too far."

"London somehow will have to offer its apologies to the Russian side, but obviously it is going to be a long story and the idiocy of it has gone too far," Peskov said, commenting the situation over the Skripal case.