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Sunday, April 15, 2018, 13:28
Russia: Trace of Western-made nerve agent seen in UK samples
By Associated Press
Sunday, April 15, 2018, 13:28 By Associated Press

Sergei Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Russian speaks to reporters Jan 19, 2018 at the United Nations in New York. (DON EMMERT / AFP)

MOSCOW — Russia's foreign minister says Moscow has received a document from a Swiss lab that analyzed the samples in the nerve agent poisoning of an ex-Russian spy, which points at a Western-designed nerve agent as a likely cause.

The OPCW report confirmed British findings that the Skripals were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent, but didn't say who was responsible

Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saturday that Moscow received the confidential information from the laboratory in Spiez, Switzerland, that analyzed samples from the site of the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury.

He said the analysis was done at the request of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The OPCW's report confirmed British findings that the Skripals were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent, but didn't say who was responsible.

READ MORE: Russia asks chemical weapons agency for answers in spy case

Britain has accused Russia of poisoning them with a Soviet-designed agent, an accusation that Moscow denies.

Lavrov said the document indicated that the samples from Salisbury contained BZ nerve agent and its precursor. He said BZ was part of chemical arsenals of the US, Britain and other NATO countries, while the Soviet Union and Russia never developed the agent.

Lavrov added that the Swiss lab also pointed at the presence of the nerve agent A234 in the samples, but added that the lab noted that its presence in the samples appeared strange, given the substance's high volatility and the relatively long period between the poisoning and the sample-taking.

ALSO READ: Yulia Skripal declines Russian help but embassy voices doubts

Personnel in hazmat suits walk away after securing the covering on a bench in the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury, England on March 8, 2018, where former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found critically ill by exposure to a nerve agent on March 4. (ANDREW MATTHEWS/PA VIA AP)

He noted that OPCW's report didn't contain any mention of BZ, adding that Russia will ask the chemical weapons watchdog for an explanation.

Britain said that the A234 agent belonged to the family of Soviet-designed nerve agents dubbed Novichok.

Yulia Skripal, 33, was released from the hospital this week. Her father remains hospitalized but British health officials say he is improving.

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