Moscow: UK denied offer to help in March nerve agent attack

Moscow: UK denied offer to help in March nerve agent attack

Moscow: UK denied offer to help in March nerve agent attack

Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley fell ill in Amesbury on Saturday, and are in a critical condition in Salisbury hospital.

British counter-terror police say two people have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, near the city of Salisbury where a former Russian double agent and his daughter were poisoned.

Regarding this latest incident, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that Russian Federation has "categorically denied and continues to categorically deny the possibility of any kind of involvement".

"It is completely unacceptable for our people to be either deliberate or accidental targets, or for our streets, our parks, our towns to be dumping grounds for poison", Javid said.

The two patients "are both now receiving treatment for suspected exposure to an unknown substance at Salisbury District Hospital", a police statement said. Spire FM says the incident is "thought to have been a drug-related medical episode".

Both patients were being treated at Salisbury District Hospital, which remained "open as usual", police said. "We're working extremely hard to try to understand the circumstances, the chronology".

Interior minister Javid said the substance that the two people were exposed to was the same variant of Novichok that struck down the Skripals.

The search to determine the means and locations of the latest exposure has compelled police to close off additional locations around Wiltshire, including a pharmacy, a park, a church and several areas in Salisbury such as Queen Elizabeth Gardens and a homeless shelter.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday it was deeply disturbing to see two British citizens poisoned by the Novichok nerve agent.

"Although Novichoks are quite persistent, they maintain their toxicity for months, whereas older nerve agents only last for hours and possibly days", explained Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a chemical weapons expert.

A Public Health England (PHE) spokesman said Tuesday that, "based upon the number of casualties affected, is that it is not believed that there is a significant health risk to the wider public".

Speaking to BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner, the source said Novichok could be degraded by rainwater and sunlight over time - meaning it was probably discovered by the couple in a contained space.

The proximity to the previous incident, if nothing else, has raised sufficient alarm to draw in counter terrorism officers from Britain's biggest police force.

One senior Government source said: "They [investigators] have been unable to ascertain the item used to deposit and it's possible the pair have come into contact with that item".

The incident resulted in the biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats since the Cold War.

Moscow hit back by expelling Western diplomats, questioning how Britain could know that Russian Federation was responsible and offering rival interpretations, including that it amounted to a plot by British secret services.

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