Home Secretary says, Russia 'must explain nerve attack'

Jul 06, 2018, 08:50 IST | Agencies

Home Secretary says Russia is using UK as a 'dumping ground for poison' after 2nd nerve agent poisoning

Home Secretary says, Russia 'must explain nerve attack'
Russia said Theresa May's government was subjecting them 'to hell'. Pics/AFP. Inset: Sajid Javid

British police scrambled on Thursday to determine how a couple were exposed to the same nerve agent used on a former Russian spy earlier this year, leaving them critically ill.

The couple were taken ill on Saturday in the village of Amesbury, close to the city of Salisbury, where former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a bench on March 4 in an incident that sparked a diplomatic crisis with Russia. The home secretary has accused Russia of using Britain as a "dumping ground for poison" after a second incident involving the nerve agent Novichok. Sajid Javid said the agent was the same as that used on ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in March.

In a statement to MPs, Javid said: "It is now time that the Russian state comes forward and explains exactly what has gone on." "The possibility that these two investigations might be linked is clearly a line of enquiry for us," said Neil Basu, head of Britain's counter-terrorism police force. Police announced late Wednesday that tests on the couple, named locally as 44-year-old woman Dawn Sturgess and 45-year-old man Charlie Rowley, revealed they had been exposed to Novichok, but could not say whether it was the same batch used on the Skripals.

Novichok is a military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The exposure of an apparently random British couple to the nerve agent is spreading fear through city in southwest England once again. However, Russian foreign ministry has said Theresa May's government was subjecting them "to hell".

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