Experts unable to identify source of nerve agent used in Skripal attack

Buses wait to carry expelled diplomats from the US Embassy in Moscow

Buses wait to carry expelled diplomats from the US Embassy in Moscow

British military scientists reportedly have not verified that the nerve agent used to poison ex-spy Sergei Skripal was made in Russian Federation - but said it was "only in the capabilities of a state actor".

"We were able to identify it as Novichok, to identify that it was military-grade nerve agent", Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down in England, told Sky News.

The British government insisted that several pieces of information contributed to its conclusion that the Russian government was responsible for the nerve agent attack, including intelligence that Russia had produced Novichok within the last decade and had investigated ways of delivering nerve agents for assassinations.

A government spokesperson said on Tuesday: "We have been clear from the very beginning that our world leading experts at Porton Down identified the substance used in Salisbury as a Novichok, a military grade nerve agent".

"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".

He said: "It is a cold war".

He says there is "no way" the nerve agent could have come from the high-security Porton Down facility.

The trio of Baltic leaders came to the White House with what officials described as a series of concrete steps to deter Russian aggression.

Russia's top diplomat also mocked Britain's claim that there was no plausible alternative explanation for the poisonings of the Skripals.

The 'secret bank account' was disclosed by Sergei's niece Viktoria Skripal, 45, who aims this week to travel to meet Yulia in hospital in Salisbury.

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But Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a thorough investigation into the poisoning during a visit to Turkey on Tuesday.

Filatov says Russian Federation wants Britain to "provide every possible element of evidence" it holds about the March 4 attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons told CNN an emergency meeting will be held on Wednesday at Russia's request.

"As the Prime Minister has set out in a number of statements to the Commons since 12 March, this includes our knowledge that within the last decade, Russian Federation has investigated ways of delivering nerve agents - probably for assassination - and as part of this programme has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichoks".

Her father remained in a critical but stable condition.

More than 20 nations, including the United States, have backed Britain by expelling over 100 Russian diplomats after the UK government openly blamed Moscow for the Salisbury incident.

A former Russian general has warned world is on the brink of "the last war in the history of mankind" over the poisoning of a spy.

Speaking on the BBC's Today programme, he warned that the situation could escalate out of control if Russian Federation is cornered.

Armin Laschet, a conservative ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said the comment raised questions about Britain's drive to persuade allies to expel Russian diplomats.

"Actually you are cornering Russian Federation, and to corner Russian Federation is a very risky thing".

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