Tags: uk | theresa may | russia | soviet | novichok | poison

Report: Lethal Nerve Agent Used to Attack Ex-Spy Developed by Russia in 1980s

Report: Lethal Nerve Agent Used to Attack Ex-Spy Developed by Russia in 1980s

Military forces work on a van in Winterslow, England as investigations continue into the nerve-agent poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, in Salisbury, England. (AP/Frank Augstein)

By    |   Tuesday, 13 March 2018 06:37 AM

Novichok, the nerve agent used to poison an ex-Russian spy and his daughter last week in England, was created with a different chemical structure in the 1970s and '80s to circumvent the Chemical Weapons Treaty, the Daily Beast reports.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament Monday it was “highly likely” that Moscow was behind the attack on Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia, and called on Russia to provide an explanation.

“Should there be no credible response, we will conclude that this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian State against the United Kingdom,” she said.

"This attempted murder using a weapons-grade nerve agent in a British town was not just a crime against the Skripals. It was an indiscriminate and reckless act against the United Kingdom, putting the lives of innocent civilians at risk."

Experts at the U.K.’s Porton Down laboratory identified the poison as novichok, which means “newcomer” in Russian.

Russia has never admitted that it had a top-secret program to develop nerve agents, and called the findings a “fairy tale” and “another information and political campaign based on provocation.”

But several chemical defense experts told the Daily Beast of Moscow’s work.

The novichoks were developed, “first and foremost to have chemical weapons that NATO chemical warfare detectors would not detect,” said Dan Kaszeta, a former U.S. Army Chemical Corps officer who has spent decades working in chemical defense.

Scientists produced novichok in 1982, according to former Soviet scientist Vil Mirzayanov, and were designed to be more lethal than VX or sarin.

“It’s for paralyzing people, it causes you convulsions and you can’t breathe and after that you die. If you get enough of a dose of it,” Mirzayanov, 83, told the Daily Mail.

“It’s real torture, it’s impossible to imagine. Even in low doses the pain can go on for weeks. You cannot imagine the horror, it’s so bad.”

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Novichok, the nerve agent used to poison an ex-Russian spy and his daughter last week in England, was created with a different chemical structure in the 1970s and 80s to circumvent the Chemical Weapons Treaty, the Daily Beast reports.
uk, theresa may, russia, soviet, novichok, poison
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2018-37-13
Tuesday, 13 March 2018 06:37 AM
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