Friday, 20 September, 2019

Police issue stark Novichok warning as nerve agent source hunt continues

Patty Aguilar | 11 July, 2018, 02:22

The UK's chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies has warned members of the public in Salisbury and Amesbury not to pick up "any foreign objects".

Authorities have broadened their investigation into the nerve agent poisoning of an English couple, seizing a auto in a third community in southwestern England. Mr Rowley remains in a critical condition.

Police are now searching for a "contaminated item" that could have exposed the pair to the nerve agent, which is the same substance found in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripel and his daughter Yulia in nearby Salisbury.

Rowley, 45, is still in hospital but regained consciousness on Tuesday, showing a "small but significant" improvement in his condition, medics said.

Wiltshire Police said the public "should not be alarmed by this", adding: "Those involved have the training and expertise to safely remove the vehicle". "Charlie is still very unwell".

The auto was seized Monday from a residential street in Swindon, authorities said.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said the death of Sturgess on Sunday (Monday NZT) shows that she and Rowley were exposed to a large quantity of Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent produced in the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has blamed Russian Federation for committing "an attack on British soil" over the latest poisonings.

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The wide investigation is now a homicide inquiry.

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid said scientists have yet not determined if the nerve agent that caused Sturgess' death was from the same batch that poisoned the Skripals.

Authorities have broadened their investigation into the nerve agent poisoning of an English couple, seizing a auto in a third community in southwestern England.

Police are yet to recover the contaminated container and Public Health England have warned against picking up 'any odd items such as needles, syringes or unusual containers'.

Britain and its allies blamed Russia for the attack on the Skripals, prompting a major Western expulsion of Russian diplomats.

A Kremlin spokesman on Monday (Tuesday NZT) expressed condolences over Sturgess' death.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that linking Russian Federation to the poisoning would be 'absurd'. Peskov added that such attacks present a danger not only inside the United Kingdom, but also in Europe as a whole.

Moscow said London has declined its offers for a joint investigation into the poisonings.

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