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UK to invest 48 million pounds in new chemical weapons defence centre

Britain's Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson, leaves 10 Downing Street in London, March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will invest 48 million pounds ($67 million) in a new chemical warfare defence centre at its Porton Down military research laboratory, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said on Thursday.

Porton Down was the facility where British scientists identified the nerve agent used to attack Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal in the city of Salisbury. Britain has accused Moscow of being responsible for the attack, which Moscow denies.

“Today I can announce that we’re building on our world-class expertise of the defence science and technology laboratory at Porton Down. We’re investing 48 million pounds in a new chemical weapons defence centre to maintain our cutting edge in chemical analysis and defence,” Williamson said in a speech.

($1 = 0.7179 pounds)

Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; editing by Costas Pitas