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British authorities could have staged Skripal attack — Russian Foreign Ministry

March 21, 15:48 UTC+3

Porton Down laboratory, several kilometers near Salisbury, was one of the key British centers conducting research into chemical warfare agents

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Soldiers wearing protective clothing cover a tow truck in Hyde Road, England as the investigation into the attack on Skripal continues

Soldiers wearing protective clothing cover a tow truck in Hyde Road, England as the investigation into the attack on Skripal continues

© Andrew Matthews/PA via AP

MOSCOW, March 21. /TASS/. The British authorities either are unable to prevent terrorist activities in their county or staged the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal, Head of the Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department at the Russian Defense Ministry Vladimir Yermakov said at a briefing for foreign ambassadors.

"Simple logic suggests two options: either the British authorities are unable to prevent such terrorist activity on their territory or directly or indirectly - I don’t accuse anyone - staged the attack on the Russian citizen [Yulia Skripal]. There is no other option," the senior Russian diplomat said.

"It was on the UK territory where a Russian citizen was attacked," he stressed.

Britain is the country that in 1962 obtained a patent for the production of organophosophorus agents VX, the commander of Russia’s radiation, chemical and biological protection force, Major General Igor Kirillov, told the Russian Foreign Ministry’s news briefing devoted to the Skripal affair on Wednesday.

"Britain is the country that developed and in 1962 obtained Patent JB1346409A for the production of organophosphorus agents of the VX type," Kirillov said.

He recalled that "starting from the 1970s West European countries conducted research into new generation warfare agents. Britain was and still is one of the countries that work on such substances."

Kirillov noted that a Porton Down laboratory, several kilometers near Salisbury, was one of the key British centers conducting research into chemical warfare agents.

On March 4, former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and exchanged for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of a nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union. London expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow.

Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia. In retaliation to the UK’s steps, 23 British diplomats were expelled, the British consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg was closed and the British Council had to shut down its operations in Russia.

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