Thursday, May 30

UK agents find lab behind spy plot



Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Security services located the source of the nerve agent used to poison Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, it has been claimed.

According to reports, officials found the Russian laboratory where the novichik poison was made in the days after the attack on March 4.

This comes after the chief of the Ministry of Defence’s Porton Down laboratory said it had ‘not verified the precise source’ of the Novichok nerve agent – prompting a furious backlash from Russia.

A Whitehall source told The Times: We knew pretty much by the time of the first Cobra [the emergency co-ordination briefing that took place the same week] that it was overwhelmingly likely to come from Russia.

Brussels issued a strong statement in support of Britain as ministers scrambled to shore up the international coalition standing against the Kremlin.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was under fire yesterday after he previously claimed Porton Down scientists had given him ‘absolutely categorical’ evidence the Novichok used to poison Sergei Skripal had come from Russia.

Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt condemned Russia’s ‘brazen use of a chemical weapon on UK soil’ in a speech.

The Metropolitan Police believe Mr Skripal and his daughter, who was visiting him from Russia, first came into contact with the deadly chemical at his home in Salisbury.

The attempted murder investigation is continuing and, as a precautionary measure, police placed a cordon around a children’s play area at nearby Montgomery Gardens.

Britain has accused Russia of being behind the poisoning allegations fiercely denied by Moscow.

In turn, Russia has suggested that UK intelligence officers may have been involved in the poisoning.

Britain insists there is no plausible alternative explanation for the attack and has dismissed the series of suggestions emanating from Moscow as nonsense.

More than 250 counter-terrorism detectives continue to work on one of the biggest investigations since the July 7 attacks in London in 2005.

Officers are trawling through more than 5,000 hours of CCTV.