File photo of Vladimir Chizhov. Photograph:( Reuters )
A UK laboratory could be the source of the nerve agent used on a former Russian double agent in the English city of Salisbury, Russia's EU ambassador suggested in an interview aired on BBC's Andrew Marr on Sunday.
"When you have a nerve agent or whatever, you check it against certain samples that you retain in your laboratories. And Porton Down, as we now all know, is the largest military facility in the United Kingdom that has been dealing with chemical weapons research. And it's actually only eight miles from Salisbury," Vladimir Chizhov told Marr in an interview conducted in Brussels on Friday (March 16).
When asked if he was suggesting that Porton Down was responsible for this nerve agent, Chizhov said: "I don't know. I don't have any evidence of anything having been used."
Britain has accused the Kremlin of orchestrating a nerve toxin attack in Salisbury which left former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, critically ill in hospital.
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday expelled 23 diplomats and suspended high-level contacts with Russia including for the World Cup, saying her government found Moscow "culpable" of a nerve agent attack on a former spy.
The left-wing leader has drawn criticism from his own MPs for failing to fully back the Conservative government, which said Moscow was "culpable" for the March 4 attack. President Vladimir Putin, on Tuesday, faced a midnight deadline to explain to Britain how a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union was used to strike down a former Russian double agent who passed secrets to British intelligence.
Britain braced for a showdown with Russia on Wednesday after a midnight deadline set by Prime Minister Theresa May expired without an explanation from Moscow about how a Soviet-era nerve toxin was used to strike down a former Russian double agent.