August 7, 2018 / 12:08 PM / 14 days ago

Chemical weapons inspectors to collect new samples in UK nerve agent poisoning

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Inspectors of the world’s chemical weapons watchdog will return to Britain on request of the government to take new samples of the nerve agent which killed one person and injured another in Amesbury, England, in June.

A forensic investigator, wearing a protective suit, emerges from the rear of John Baker House, after it was confirmed that two people had been poisoned with the nerve-agent Novichok, in Amesbury, Britain, July 6, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Tuesday said it would deploy a team to collect additional samples, to be analyzed in two laboratories designated by the agency.

In July the British government asked the OPCW to independently identify a substance which the authorities had found to be Novichok — the same nerve agent used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.

Britain blamed Russia for the Skripal poisoning but the Kremlin denied involvement.

In June, two Britons fell ill in Amesbury after being exposed to the poison in southwest England, close to where the Skripals were attacked. One of them died.

Britain is ready to ask Russia to extradite two men it suspects of carrying out a nerve agent attack on Skripal, the Guardian newspaper reported on Monday, citing government and security sources.

Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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