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No evidence nerve agent came from Russia: UK scientists

Muslim Times (Web Desk) – British scientists have said there is no concrete evidence to prove the nerve gas used to poison a former double agent in the UK was Russian-made.

“We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions,” Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Porton Down defense laboratory, told Britain’s Sky News on Tuesday.

According to Britain’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, although the nerve agent required extremely sophisticated methods to create, experts have been unable to establish its country of origin.

It was, however, confirmed that the chemical was identified as military-grade Nvichok nerve agent. The findings were provided to the British government in order to use other sources to piece together a conclusion.

On March 4, former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found unconscious outside a shopping center in the town of Salisbury in southern England.

The UK says the nerve agent Novichok had been used to poison the pair, claiming only Russia had the capability, motive and intent to be behind the attack.

Moscow has vehemently denied any involvement, saying the substance could have originated from the countries studying Novichok, including the UK itself, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Sweden.

A few days after the incident, British Prime Minster Theresa May announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats in the wake of the alleged attack. In retaliation, Moscow expelled 23 British diplomats in response to Britain’s “baseless accusations over the incident in Salisbury on March 4.”

Skripal was found guilty by a Russian tribunal of selling classified information to the UK’s spy agency MI6 and was imprisoned in Russia in 2006. He was exchanged in a spy swap in 2010.

Britain’s National counter-terrorism police have taken over the investigation on the alleged attack and are treating the case as attempted murder.

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