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OPCW Inspectors Confirm U.K. Findings In Spy Poisoning


Yulia Skripal is now recovering after being exposed to a potent nerve toxin.
Yulia Skripal is now recovering after being exposed to a potent nerve toxin.

The global chemical-weapons watchdog has confirmed Britain's analysis of the type of toxic chemical used in the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter.

In a summary of its findings made public on April 12, The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said that its investigators agreed with the British findings.

It did not name the substance involved but said it was "of high purity."

Britain accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin's government of trying to kill 66-year-old Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, with a military-grade nerve agent known as "novichok," which was developed in the Soviet Union.

Russia has denied involvement in the poisoning, which prompted Britain and more than two dozen Western allies to expel over 150 Russian diplomatic staff, in a move reciprocated days later by Moscow.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a statement on April 12, "There can be no doubt what was used."

"There remains no alternative explanation about who was responsible -- only Russia has the means, motive, and record," he added.

The Skripals were hospitalized on March 4 after being found unconscious on a bench in the English city of Salisbury.

The head of Britain's GCHQ intelligence agency said on April 12 that the Skripals' poisoning proved "how reckless Russia is prepared to be."

Jeremy Fleming said the attack was "particularly stark and shocking" and showed that Moscow was "not playing to the same rules."

Fleming, speaking at a cyber-conference in the northern city of Manchester, accused Russia of crossing the boundaries between criminal and state activity.

Yulia Skripal, who was discharged from the hospital on April 10, said her father was "still seriously ill" and that she was also "still suffering with the effects of the nerve agent used against us."

In an April 11 statement that Britain's Metropolitan Police said it was issuing on her behalf, the 33-year-old also said she did not want any assistance from Russia "at the moment."

She added that comments reported in Russian media by her cousin Viktoria, who was quoted as saying that Britain was denying her permission to visit Yulia, did not represent the views of her or her father.

"I thank my cousin Viktoria for her concern for us but ask that she does not visit me or try to contact me for the time being," Skripal said in the statement.

The Russian Embassy in London questioned whether the statement issued by British police actually came from Skripal.

"We continue to insist on a meeting with Yulia and Sergei Skripal. The situation around them looks more and more like a forceful detention or imprisonment," the embassy said in a statement.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and the BBC
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