Skripals poisoned with nerve agent, confirms OPCW

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Russia's Foreign Minister on Friday accused his British counterpart of distorting the findings of the world chemical watchdog's investigation into a spy poisoning the United Kingdom blames on Moscow.

Separately, Russia shortly afterwards said it suspected British authorities of detaining the spy's daughter, who was poisoned with him, following her recent departure from hospital.

The Sunday Times cited a number of security sources as saying that the Britain is ready "to launch an offensive cyber-attack against Russian Federation if it targets the UK's critical national infrastructure", including the National Grid and the NHS.

The worldwide chemical weapons watchdog today confirmed the UK's findings that the source of the military-grade nerve agent used to target the former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury originally came from Russia.

In his first speech after a year as director of the Government Communications Headquarters, the British equivalent of the National Security Agency, Jeremy Fleming said the threat from Russia had "never gone away", but had become impossible to ignore after the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter, cyberattacks on Ukranian infrastructure and other actions.

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

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that the Skripals were exposed to a sophisticated nerve agent that it did not name in a summary of the report that was made public Thursday.

'We would like to make sure that the statement really belongs to Yulia, ' the embassy said.

"This programme subsequently included investigation of ways of delivering nerve agents, including by application to door handles".

Russian Federation insists it had nothing to do with the March 4 attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury. "This lack of transparency is here for a reason and this reason is highly likely not protecting the Russian citizens".

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Skripal had moved to Britain in 2010 as part of a spy exchange after being imprisoned in Russian Federation for selling secrets to British intelligence while he was working for the GRU.

Russian Foreign Ministry information and press director Maria Zakharova said the allegations in relation to the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal 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".

In the letter, Sedwill said only Russian Federation had the "technical means, operational experience and the motive" for the attack. "There is no plausible alternative explanation", added Sir Mark.

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

"This is a fact of life".

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