Russian Federation says Britain should prove Skripals not being held hostage

Nerve agent The response immediately following the Salisbury attack

Chemical watchdog backs UK findings on Salisbury spy poisoning by Paul Miles Published

Hitting out at Russian Federation over the nerve attack on former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, British envoy to India Dominic Asquith said today Moscow has to answer "really very important questions".

"There can be no doubt what was used and there remains no alternative explanation about who was responsible - only Russian Federation has the means, motive and record".

The OPCW's report confirmed British findings that the Skripals were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent, but didn't say who was responsible.

In a report published today, the OPCW said they confirmed "the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identify of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury and severely injured three people".

Russian agents also tested the effectiveness of Novichok nerve agent smeared on door handles as part of a secret chemical weapons programme codenamed Foliant, it has emerged.

Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saturday that Moscow received the confidential information from the laboratory in Spiez, Switzerland, that analyzed samples from the site of the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury.

"Only Russia has the means, motive and record", Johnson said.

The incident has led to a diplomatic crisis between Moscow and the West as Moscow denies any involvement and accuses Britain of inventing a "fake story".

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However, inspectors with the global chemical weapons watchdog will travel to Douma to investigate reports of a chemical attack. That panel had found that the Syrian regime had dropped sarin on the village of Khan Sheikhun in April of a year ago .

But a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the allegations were a "clear anti-Russian campaign, the like of which we have not seen in the world for a long time in terms of its scale and lack of principles".

At the same time, Russian Federation stepped up demands for diplomatic access to Skripal, who remains hospitalized, and his daughter, who is continuing her recovery in an undisclosed location after having been released from a hospital.

"It is highly likely that Novichoks were developed to prevent detection by the West and to circumvent global chemical weapons controls", he said.

A day earlier, Yulia Skripal, in a statement released on her behalf by Scotland Yard, declined what she called a "kindly" offer of assistance from the Russian Embassy in London. "At the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services, but, if I change my mind I know how to contact them", she said.

Russia's ambassador to the, Alexander Yakovenko, dismissed the charges Friday as unfounded and untrue.

The claims are made in a letter from Sir Mark Sedwill, the UK's national security adviser, to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg.

She added that her father remains "seriously ill", and that she is suffering from the attack.

"We have every reason to believe this could be a question of the deliberate, forcible detention of a Russian citizen or possibly their coercion into a staged announcement", Zakharova said.

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