Nerve agent same variety in both poisonings: UK


LONDON: Britain’s interior minister says the nerve agent that poisoned an English couple is the same variety as that used against former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, but it’s not clear whether the two samples came from the same batch.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid says scientists at Britain’s defense research lab are certain “this is the exact same nerve agent from the Novichok family” as the one that poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March.
He said “we cannot attribute this to the same batch at this point” but scientists are investigating. Britain blames Russia for the Skripals’ poisoning. Moscow denies involvement. Detectives are investigating whether the latest victims were exposed to Novichok left over from the Skripal poisoning, possibly in a Salisbury park.
Javid said “it’s completely unacceptable” for British parks “to be dumping grounds for poison.”
A Russian lawmaker has described a second case of poisoning with the nerve agent Novichok in southern England as part of British efforts to tarnish the Russia-hosted World Cup and fuel tensions ahead of a planned US-Russian summit.
Sergei Zheleznyak, a member of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said the poisoning of a couple in Amesbury on Saturday is “a continuation of an anti-Russian PR hysteria that British authorities are trying to create.”
Zheleznyak noted that “this is happening amid a quite strong positive emotional wave from British fans who came to Russia to support their team during the World Cup.” He added that a positive perception of Russia ran contrary to the official narrative and blamed British authorities for presenting what could have been a drug overdose as another Novichok poisoning.
Residents in the small town in southwestern England where a second case of poisoning with the nerve agent Novichok has been reported say they’re worried about the potential for more contamination.