Experts unable to identify source of nerve agent used in Skripal attack

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The British military facility analysing the nerve agent used to poison former spy Sergei Skripal said on Tuesday it could not prove the substance was made in Russian Federation.

Gary Aitkenhead, the chief executive of the Government's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), said the poison had been identified as a military-grade Novichok nerve agent which could probably be deployed only by a nation-state.

Aitkenhead then hinted towards the involvement of a state actor in the manufacturing of the nerve agent, while pointing out at the sophisticated methods deployed in the manufacturing of the poisonous agent. "We spoke about it in brief, Mr. President asked some questions about it", Putin said.

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".

"Unfortunately this is an extremely toxic substance".

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"It is our assessment that Russian Federation was responsible for this brazen and reckless act and, as the global community agrees, there is no other plausible explanation", the spokesperson said.

"It's our job to provide the scientific evidence that identifies what the particular nerve agent is. but it's not our job to say where that was actually manufactured", he told Sky News.

The world's chemical weapons watchdog said it would hold a meeting at Russia's request on Wednesday (Apr 3) to discuss Britain's allegations that Moscow was behind the poisoning of an ex-spy in England.

Russian Federation has denied responsibility for the March 4 attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, with foreign minister Sergey Lavrov even suggesting on Monday that it might have been carried out by the British authorities as a means of distracting voters from its difficulties with Brexit.

Putin said, given the lack of precise information about the agent's origin, "the speed at which the anti-Russian campaign has been launched causes bewilderment".

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After the first known use of a military-grade nerve agent on European soil since World War Two, Britain blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the attempted murder, and the West has expelled around 130 Russian diplomats.

"Russia is interested in establishing the whole truth of the matter", he said.

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.

"We are witnessing obvious prevention of access for Russian representatives to Russian victims", she said.

His comments come a day before an extraordinary meeting - called by Russian Federation - with the world's chemical weapons watchdog, the executive council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

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As the fallout from the incident continues, both Skripal and his daughter remain hospitalized in Salisbury.

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