United Kingdom scientists unable to identify Russian Federation as source for nerve agent

Russian Ambassador to UK claims Sergei Skripal was poisoned by British special services

Britain is looking for a "proportionate way" to respond to the threat posed by Russia, a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday, after a retired Russian army official said the poisoning of a former spy could start a new world war.

Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive at Porton Down, the UK Ministry of Defence's science lab, told Sky News on Tuesday that investigators have identified the poison to be military-grade Novichok, which was designed in Russian Federation during the Cold War, but "have not verified the precise source" of it.

"We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions you have come to", Aitkenhead said.

He added: "It is our job to provide the scientific evidence of what this particular nerve agent is".

The OPCW said Russian Federation had asked for the meeting but London has already accused Moscow of requesting the OPCW talks as a "diversionary tactic".

He said there was no known antidote for the "extremely toxic substance" and they had not provided one for the Skripals, who were stricken by the nerve agent after it was likely smeared on the door of this home.

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Yury Filatov, Russia's ambassador to Ireland, said Russia wants Britain to "provide every possible element of evidence they might have in their hands" about the attack.

The UK government has issued a statement in the wake of the admission by Porton Down chemical scientists that they can't verify the Skripal attack nerve agent came from Russian Federation.

"If we got along with Russia, that would be a good thing not a bad thing", Trump said, days after congratulating the veteran Russian leader on his controversial re-election and suggesting they meet at the White House.

Putin said there were 20 countries that could manufacture the nerve agent, adding he was "surprised at the speed with which the anti-Russian campaign was promoted and accelerated".

Military personnel investigating the Skripal attack wear protective suits in Salisbury on March 11, 2018.

European Union nations, the United States and other Western countries joined Britain in expelling more than 150 Russian diplomats from their countries.

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The comments come a day ahead of an extraordinary meeting in The Hague of the executive council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to discuss the Salisbury attack.

US President Donald Trump defended his embrace of Vladimir Putin Tuesday, saying good relations were important but claiming no one had been tougher on Russian Federation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denounced the British accusations on Monday as a "mad and disgusting provocation". The official did not divulge those details, but said Russian involvement in the attack is the only "plausible explanation".

"There is no way anything like that could have come from us or left the four walls of our facility", he said.

"Not the Salisbury poisoning but all the actions".

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