OPCW Probe Confirms Amesbury Victims Poisoned by Same Substance as Skripals
20:37 04.09.2018(updated 21:45 04.09.2018)
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which had been conducting an independent investigation into two poisoning cases, which took place in the United Kingdom, has released a report on what it called "toxic chemical incidents" in Amesbury.
"The toxic chemical compound displays the same toxic properties of a nerve agent. It is also the same toxic chemical that was found in the biomedical and environmental samples relating to the poisoning of Mr. Sergei Skripal, Ms. Yulia Skripal, and Mr. Nicholas Bailey on 4 March 2018 in Salisbury, " the OPCW said in a report.
As the document noted, it verifies the findings of the United Kingdom.
"The results of the analysis by the OPCW designated laboratories of environmental and biomedical samples collected by the OPCW team confirm the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that intoxicated two individuals in Amesbury and resulted in one fatality," the OPCW stated in the document.
However, the OPCW has failed to confirm that the nerve agents were from the same batch.
"Due to the unknown storage conditions of the small bottle found in the house of Mr Rowley and the fact that the environmental samples analyzed in relation to the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and Mr. Nicholas Bailey were exposed to the environment and moisture, the impurity profiles of the samples available to the OPCW do not make it possible to draw conclusions as to whether the samples are from the same synthesis batch," the report said.
Reacting to the release of the document, the UK's delegation to the OPCW requested the technical secretariat of the investigative body share the document with all states parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and to "make the summary of the report publicly available."
The victims of the Amesbury attack, Charlie Rowley, 45, and Dawn Sturgess, 44, were found unconscious at Rowley's home on June 30. Dawn never regained consciousness and passed away on July 8; her boyfriend was discharged from hospital after three weeks of treatment. Later on, he told the media that he had unwittingly picked up a contaminated sealed perfume bottle. He then gave it to his partner who sprayed the liquid onto her wrists, exposing the pair to a lethal dose.
The Amesbury couple came into contact with a nerve agent, later identified by UK researchers as "Novichok," the same nerve agent that allegedly struck down former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in neighboring Salisbury in early March. A number of high-ranking UK officials, including Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson and Security Minister Ben Wallace, blamed the poisoning on Russia, though no evidence supporting the claims was ever presented. Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid has accused Moscow of using Britain as a "dumping ground" for poison.
Moscow, in its turn, has strongly denied any involvement in either incident, denying all allegations as groundless. Russia offered the UK its assistance in the Skripal investigation. Within a month of the alleged poisoning, Russia's proposal for a joint investigation into the incident was voted down at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the international chemical weapons watchdog.
The Salisbury attack ignited a diplomatic row between London and Moscow, resulting in a tit-for-tat expulsion of diplomats and the closure of a British consulate in St. Petersburg.
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