Russia’s role in Skripal case based on ‘assumptions’

Russia’s role in Sergie Skripal‘s poisoning is based not only on lab data on the military-grade nerve agent used but also on past intelligence reports, Russian media said citing UK foreign office (pictured) on Tuesday.

The official statement came after Porton Down lab experts said they do not know where the nerve agent used in poisoning the former Russian double agent Sergie Skripal came from.

The office said it has information Russia has produced and stored a small amount of the nerve agent Novichok probably for conducting state-sponsored attacks on former intelligence officers.

It said Russia was responsible for poisoning Skripals and there is no other plausible explanation.

No clue on source of nerve agent

Earlier, Sky News reported Porton Down experts were unable to identify the source of Novichok.

“We have not identified the precise source (of the nerve agent) but have provided the scientific info to the government who used a number of sources to piece together the conclusion,” said Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down.

Aitkenhead’s statement came as the world’s chemical weapons watchdog Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) prepared to hold a meeting on Wednesday at Moscow’s request in The Hague.

Aitkenhead said extremely sophisticated methods were needed to create the nerve agent used and that was something only in the capabilities of a state actor.

Aitkenhead declined to say whether Porton Down had developed or keeps stocks of Novichok, but he dismissed claims by Russia’s EU ambassador Vladimir Chizhov that the agent used to poison the Skripals might have come from the lab.

Russia’s ambassador to Ireland, Yury Filatov told media that Britain will be asked to provide every possible element of evidence they might have in their hands at The Hague meeting.

Britain’s foreign ministry said Russia’s initiative in holding the Hague talks is a diversionary tactic to undermine the work of the OPCW in reaching a conclusion.