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Novichok Survivor Gets 'Propaganda' In Meeting With Russian Ambassador To U.K.


Charlie Rowley

A survivor of a Novichok poisoning in England last year has met with the Russian ambassador to Britain to ask questions about Russia's involvement in the string of poisonings that killed one and left four others seriously ill.

Charlie Rowley -- whose girlfriend Dawn Sturgess died after being exposed to the nerve agent -- met with Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Yakovenko in London on April 6.

Rowley said he went to the Russian Embassy "to ask them 'Why did your country kill my girlfriend?' but I didn't really get any answers," he told the Sunday Mirror newspaper, which arranged the meeting.

"I just got Russian propaganda," he said.

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found unconscious on a park bench in the English city of Salisbury on March 4, 2018, and it was later discovered they had been exposed to Novichok. They both recovered.

Three months later, Rowley found a wrapped bottle of perfume in a park in the town of Amesbury and gave it to Sturgess, who became seriously ill after spraying it on herself. The bottle was found to be filled with Novichok.

Rowley had also been exposed. Sturgess died in hospital several days later and Rowley recovered after spending 10 days in a coma. He still has serious health problems from the exposure.

In September, British authorities said they had enough evidence to charge two Russians -- known by presumed aliases Aleksandr Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov -- with various crimes including conspiracy to commit murder.

Scotland Yard accused them of being Russian military intelligence (GRU) officers sent to Britain to assassinate Sergei Skripal.

Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement in the incident. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview that the two suspects were civilians who went to England as tourists. The two men said in an interview with Russian broadcaster RT they went to Britain to see the Salisbury Cathedral and famous nearby monument Stonehenge, which they said they didn't visit because of bad weather.

"I liked the ambassador, but I thought some of what he said trying to justify Russia not being responsible was ridiculous," said Rowley. "The ambassador kept saying the substance definitely wasn’t the Novichok [the Russians] had made because if it was it would have killed everyone."

With reporting by dpa and the BBC
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