Britain demands answers from Russian Federation over second nerve agent poisoning

A police officer stands at a cordon at Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury

A police officer stands at a cordon at Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury

Britain has accused Russian Federation of poisoning the Skripals with Novichok - a nerve agent developed by the Soviet military during the Cold War - in what is the first known offensive use of such a chemical weapon on European soil since World War Two.

Earlier, Prime Minister Theresa May had described the poisoning of British couple Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley as "deeply disturbing" and pledged that police would leave "no stone unturned" in their investigation.

The incident has reignited the diplomatic row over the Skripal poisoning between Britain and Russian Federation, who Prime Minister Theresa May blamed for the attack.

Russian Federation has denied any involvement in either incident.

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid will chair an emergency meeting Thursday to discuss the incident.

Police are focusing on how that came about and are unable to say whether it was the same batch that the Skripals were exposed to.

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Police officers on the scene outside Harcourt Medical Centre by Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury, thought to be connected to a man and woman in Amesbury who are in hospita in critical condition.

And the British government owed Russian Federation an apology, she said. They've also said that, unlike the Skripals, the couple was not deliberately targeted with the Soviet-era nerve agent, which acts rapidly to slow the heart and restrict airways.

Initially, the investigation was led by local police, but London's Metropolitan Police said counterterrorism detectives took charge after the substance was identified as Novichok. "That is part of the anger I feel about the Russian state (in the Skripal case). that they chose to use clearly a very, very toxic, highly risky weapon".

Making clear that the United Kingdom will "stand up to the actions that threaten our security", he added: "It is completely unacceptable for our people to be either deliberate or accidental targets, or for our streets, our parks, our towns, to be dumping grounds for poison".

Forensic searches were due to be carried out at the Amesbury home where Sturgess and Rowley collapsed, and other sites the couple visited before they were sickened.

Preliminary results indicated Tuesday that they may have been exposed to a nerve agent and police told reporters on Wednesday it was Novichok.

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Officials said there was only a "low risk" to the wider public, but urged anyone who had visited the affected sites to wash their clothes and wipe down personal items.

We can confirm that the man and woman have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, which has been identified as the same nerve agent that contaminated both Yulia and Sergei Skripal.

State news agency RIA Novosti reported this as "based on London's provisional information, Russian Federation is not complicit in the Amesbury poisoning incident".

After the Skripal poisoning, police investigators in protective suits scoured Salisbury.

Basu said there was nothing in the backgrounds of Sturgess or Rowley that would suggest they would be a target for a deliberate attack - they have no connections to the intelligence or security communities.

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