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British investigators unable to link Salisbury, Amesbury poisonings - newspaper

"We don’t have all the answers yet," the source said, as cited by the paper

LONDON, May 20. /TASS/. The United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police are unable to link the Salisbury poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and the Amesbury incident, the Guardian said citing a police statement.

The newspaper pointed out that the Metropolitan police had said in a statement: "We do not know where the two suspects disposed of the novichok they used to attack the front door of the Skripals’ address, where Dawn and Charlie got the bottle that poisoned them, or if it is the same bottle used in both poisonings, and this remains the case… we don’t know if it will ever be possible to confirm if they are from the same batch."

According to a source familiar with the criminal inquiry, other questions also remain without answers. "We don’t have all the answers yet," the source said, as cited by the paper. "That is the reason why the CPS could not consider murder charges against the two Russian agents. The police cannot be completely sure the bottle of novichok that poisoned Dawn Sturgess was used against the Skripals," the source added.

"The theories about the third man, or a second team, cannot be discounted. There is a degree of uncertainty," the source noted. "The bin where the bottle was found was regularly emptied, so it seems inconceivable that it had been there since March," the source said, adding: "There is also some confusion about whether the bottle was sealed when it was found."

Mystery call

The source also said that two Russians suspected of poisoning the Skripals "received a phone call after returning to London on the day of the alleged attack, raising the possibility that a backup team played a role in the operation."

"One theory being considered by investigators is whether the call, which has not been disclosed before, was a signal to tip them off that the operation had been a success," the newspaper wrote, adding that "shortly after the call, they travelled to Heathrow airport for a 10.30pm flight back to Moscow."

British poisonings

According to London, former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London rushed to accuse Russia of being involved in the incident. Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations. Chief Executive of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down Gary Aitkenhead said later that British experts had been unable to identify the origin of the nerve agent used in the attack on the Skripals.

On June 30, 2018, 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess and 45-year-old Charles Rowley were hospitalized in critical condition in the British town of Amesbury. The Metropolitan Police claimed the two had been exposed to Novichok. Sturgess died on July 8, while Rowley was discharged from the hospital on July 20.

On September 5, 2018, British Prime Minister Theresa May told the country’s parliament about the conclusions that investigators looking into the Salisbury incident had come to, saying that two Russians, believed to be GRU agents, were suspected of conspiracy to murder the Skripals. The Metropolitan Police published the suspects’ photos, saying their names were Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.