Source of nerve agent not yet identified, United Kingdom defense lab says

Source of nerve agent not yet identified, United Kingdom defense lab says

Gary Aitkenhead Chief Executive of the Porton Down defence laboratory handling the case investigation said that analysts had identified it (nerve agent) as military-grade Novichok but they had not proved that it was made in Russian Federation as per news outlet France 24.

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

"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".

He noted that Porton Down was responsible for identifying the nerve agent and providing scientific information to the government, but not for concluding where the poison was made.

"It's a military grade nerve agent which requires extremely sophisticated methods in order to create - something that's probably only within the capabilities of a state actor".

Police officers guard the cordoned off area around the home of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, Britain, April 3, 2018.

Rejecting Russian claims the substance could have come from Porton Down, Mr Aitkenhead said: "There's no way that anything like that would ever have come from us or leave the four walls of our facilities".

The Foreign Office responded that they still believed Russian Federation was behind the attack because of the wider "intelligence picture".

"This is only one part of the intelligence picture".

Scientists at the U.K's Porton Down lab previously identified the poison as a Soviet-developed type of nerve agent known as Novichok.

"Russia's record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations; and our assessment that Russian Federation views former intelligence officers as targets".

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"It is not, and has never been, our responsibility to confirm the source of the agent". Russian Federation sent France 10 questions about why France thinks Russian Federation was involved, and about France's own chemical weapons programs. "Our chemical analysis is a key part of the Government's assessment, and this has not changed".

He argued that experts have said that such nerve agents could have been made in some 20 countries.

Buzhinsky told the BBC the expelling of diplomats by both countries over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury could lead to war.

Russian Federation has been pushing hard for access to the pair, saying it "insists" on seeing them. British officials say his 33-year-old daughter's health is improving.

The British authorities are preparing to grant her a visa so that she can become the first family member to meet Yulia, and also see her uncle Sergei, who remains in a coma.

Moscow responded by deciding to expel 23 United Kingdom diplomats. S., Canada, Albania, Norway and Ukraine, have announced their decisions to collectively expel over 150 Russian diplomats as a sign of solidarity with London on the Skripal case.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko called the poisonings a "provocation arranged by Britain" to justify high military spending because "they need a major enemy".

Speaking on the Today programme, Mr Buzhinsky warned how the reaction from Russian Federation over the expelled diplomats could lead to the "last war in the history of mankind", ramping up World War 3 fears.

Mr Buzhinsky said the West was "cornering Russian Federation and to corner Russian Federation is a very risky thing".

He said: "It is a cold war".

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