Experts haven't found 'precise source' of nerve agent used on spy

Experts haven't found 'precise source' of nerve agent used on spy

More than 100 Russian diplomats have been expelled form western countries from across the globe in response the United Kingdom accusing Russia for being responsible for a military grade nerve-agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

Porton Down chief executive Gary Aitkenhead said scientists at the lab "have not verified the precise source, but we provided the scientific information to the government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions that they have come to".

He also noted that the production of the substance requires "extremely sophisticated methods to create, something only in the capabilities of a state actor". "We're reviewing our options", said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, who charged that the attack on the Skripals violated an global chemical weapons ban.

The OPCW said Russian Federation had asked for the meeting but London has already accused Moscow of requesting the OPCW talks as a "diversionary tactic".

Aitkenhead said the British government had "other inputs" it could use to determine the origin of the nerve agent, some of them intelligence-based.

The OPCW said Russian Federation had asked for the upcoming meeting.

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

"We want to be granted access to this investigation and hope to receive relevant materials as it is about Russian citizens", he said, adding that Russia's Investigative Committee had opened a criminal case over the incident.

Putin said he was astonished at how rapidly the anti-Russian campaign has been whipped up on the backdrop of the Skripal case.

"Moscow has denied being behind the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the southern English city of Salisbury on March 4. We identified that it is from this particular family and that it is a military grade, but it is not our job to say where it was manufactured".

His comments come a day before an extraordinary meeting - called by Russian Federation - with the world's chemical weapons watchdog, the executive council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The tensions also are an outgrowth of USA sanctions on Russian Federation for meddling in the 2016 US elections.

Chizhov says "Russia clearly had no motive" to attack Skripal, who was convicted of spying for Britain but freed in a 2010 spy swap.

Former double agent Skripal, who has lived in Britain since a spy swap in 2010, and his daughter have been in hospital since March 4 after the poisoning that London and its major Western allies have blamed on Russian Federation.

Britain and two dozen of its allies have expelled over 150 Russian diplomats. "It certainly isn't anything that came from our facility", he said. Russian officials are seeking to visit her in hospital.

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