Chemical weapons watchdog confirms UK nerve agent findings
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The global chemical weapons watchdog on Tuesday confirmed findings by British authorities that the Novichok nerve agent killed one person and sickened another in the English town of Amesbury in June.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said that its tests showed that the nerve agent “is also the same toxic chemical that was found in the biomedical and environmental samples relating to the poisoning” of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in nearby Salisbury in March.
While the OPCW did not publicly name the nerve agent, Britain earlier identified it as Novichok, a lethal substance produced in the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Dawn Sturgess and her partner, Charlie Rowley, were sickened months after the Skripals were poisoned with Novichok. Sturgess later died.
The OPCW report said that it was not able to establish whether the Novichok used to poison the Skripals was from the same batch as that which later killed Sturgess and sickened Rowley.
Britain blames Russia for poisoning the Skripals, a charge Moscow denies.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt again hit out at Russia after the OPCW issued its report.
“The recklessness of the Russian state in bringing a nerve agent into the U.K., and total disregard for the safety of the public, is appalling and irresponsible,” Hunt said. “Our thoughts are with the family of Dawn Sturgess, and with Charlie Rowley.”