Watchdog Confirms Skripals Poisoned, UK Says Kremlin Must Give Answers

EPA-EFE  Bart Maat

The OPCW said it received information about the medical conditions of the Skripals and Det Sgt Nick Bailey, it collected their blood samples, and it gathered samples from the site in Salisbury.

The chemical watchdog did not actually name the chemical in its declassified summary, nor did it assign blame for the March 4 attack on Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

But it did confirm Britain's analysis about the substance that had been used.

Russian Federation strongly denies involvement in the attack, which has sparked an global row resulting in the expulsions of diplomats from all sides. It is unclear how the OPCW will respond.

The case, filled with high-level intrigue and unexpected twists and turns, was marked by another unexpected development last week when Viktoria Skripal, a 45-year-old Russian accountant and relative of the two poisoned Russians, said the British authorities were untrustworthy and cast doubt on their accounts.

Skripal moved to Britain in a spy swap in 2010 and settled in Salisbury, and Yulia was visiting from Russian Federation when they were poisoned, likely via contamination from his front door.

In retaliation, British and U.S officials expelled Russian diplomats from their embassies - and Russia answered by expelling British and USA diplomats from Moscow.

Russian Federation has said it does not have such nerve agents and President Vladimir Putin said it was nonsense to think that Moscow would have poisoned the Skripals. She is in the care of "trained officers" who are taking her through the investigative process.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson hailed the findings, and said "only Russia" could have been behind the attack.

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The findings were welcomed by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who said they backed Britain's assertion that only Russian Federation could have carried out the attack in March. Her comments came after she recorded what she said was a phone call with Yulia Skripal, a copy of which she gave to Russian state television, which broadcast it.

Juergen Hardt, foreign policy spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, said the report provided "certainty" that the Skripals were poisoned by Novichok.

Britain accused Russia of being behind the nerve agent attack and Western governments including the United States expelled over 100 Russian diplomats.

She was recently discharged from Salisbury district hospital, where her father Sergei remains "seriously ill", she said.

In a statement released by London's Metropolitan Police, Yulia Skripal said the embassy had offered assistance but "at the moment, I do not wish to avail myself of their services".

The British mission to the United Nations has requested a meeting of the Security Council on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) report.

Russia's ambassador to Britain, Alexander Yakovenko, has identified the alleged poison as Novichok A-234, derived from an earlier version known as A-232.

Britain said the finding backed its assessment that it was produced in the kind of controlled scientific environment most likely to be found in a state laboratory.

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