Police say new Salisbury nerve agent victims 'handled contaminated item'

06 Juillet, 2018, 18:28 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Fencing installed by the police of Salisbury at the entrance to the park where former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found on the bench

Russia, which is now hosting the soccer World Cup, has denied any involvement in the March incident and suggested the British security services had carried out that attack to stoke anti-Moscow hysteria.

The British couple who mysteriously fell ill over the weekend tested positive for Novichok - the same poison that nearly killed a Russian spy and his daughter who lived just a few miles away, police said Sunday.

His renewed calls for information comes after British citizens Dawn Sturgess, 44, and Charlie Rowley, 45, were found unconscious on Saturday roughly 8 miles from where Skripal and his daughter were attacked.

The home secretary said he was "comfortable" the "exact same nerve agent" had been used in both the Salisbury and Amesbury poisonings - but added it was not yet known if they were from the same batch.

He told a press conference: "Put simply, it is unbelievable that we are here today to talk about another Novichok nerve agent incident that's happened across our county".

But British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman has confirmed the Government's emergency response committee had met to discuss the incident.

He added: "They will try and claim this is Britain trying to stoke up anti-Russia sentiment during the World Cup".

Police do not believe Mr Rowley and Ms Sturgess were the victims of a targeted attack, but instead came into contact with the substance somewhere in Amesbury or Salisbury.

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Speaking to BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner, the source said Novichok could be degraded by rainwater and sunlight over time - meaning it was probably discovered by the couple in a contained space.

Russia denies involvement in this latest incident, but the nerve agent it the same used on an ex Russian spy and his daughter in March.

The two Britons taken ill on Saturday were initially thought to have taken an overdose of heroin or crack cocaine.

A police officer stands in front of screening erected behind John Baker House as forensic tents are erected.

Basu said there was nothing in the backgrounds of Sturgess or Rowley that would suggest they would be a target for a deliberate attack - they have no connections to the intelligence or security communities.

Mr Javid called on Russian Federation to explain "exactly what has gone on", adding: "We will stand up to the actions that threaten our security". Scientists at the Porton Down concluded they had been poisoned with Novichok.

Andrea Sella, professor of inorganic chemistry at University College London, said Novichok nerve agents "are created to be quite persistent - they hang around in the environment, neither evaporating or decomposing quickly".

The source said Russian Federation was likely to launch "significant" efforts to "confuse the public" after the latest incident. "They are the ones who could fill in all the clues to keep people safe".

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