Attack on ex-spy was with nerve agent, chemical body confirms


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.

Russian intelligence agents hacked Yulia Skripal's emails for at least five years before the Salisbury poisonings, a bombshell Government dossier has revealed. "Within the last decade, Russian Federation has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichoks under the same programme".

"In the interest of transparency, and because unlike the Russians we have nothing to hide, we have asked the OPCW to publish the executive summary for all to see and to circulate the full report to all state parties of the OPCW, including Russia", Johnson said in a statement.

Cyber specialists from the GRU - Moscow's Main Intelligence Directorate - targeted email accounts belonging to Miss Skripal as long ago as 2013, and possibly even before that, according to newly-declassified British intelligence. "About 20 countries could have developed this chemical material - why have they pointed at Russian Federation?" "In the mid-2000s, President Putin was closely involved in the Russian chemical weapons programme".

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The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has confirmed that the toxic chemical of high purity was used in the attack, but it did not mention who could have been behind the incident.

The Soviet Union is believed to have developed Novichoks in the Eighties as a new class of "fourth generation" nerve agents.

Novichok is thought to have been developed to prevent detection and to circumvent global chemical weapons controls.

"Only Russia has the means, motive and record", Johnson said. "There is no plausible alternative explanation", added Sir Mark.

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The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OCPW), an worldwide chemical weapons group, reported on Thursday that military-grade "novichok" nerve agent was used to poison former Russian Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the United Kingdom city of Salisbury last month.

The UK and 30 other nations have expelled 150 Russian diplomats in retaliation.

The incident has drawn comparisons to the 2006 death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko after drinking radioactive tea.

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