LONDON — Apr 17, 2018, 8:40 AM ET

UK: Nerve agent that poisoned spy was in liquid form


The nerve agent used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia was delivered in liquid form, British officials said Tuesday, as they revealed it will take months to clean up the toxic trail the poison left around the city of Salisbury.

The U.K. Environment Department said nine sites need "specialist cleaning," including a restaurant visited by the Skripals on March 4, the day they were found unconscious on a park bench in the city in southwest England.

About 190 specially trained troops are assisting environmental, health and defense officials with the cleanup, it said.

"Work to clean each site will involve a process of testing, removal of items which may have been contaminated, chemical cleaning and retesting," the agency said in a statement, adding the effort will take "a number of months."

British officials say the Skripals were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent that was smeared on a door handle at Sergei Skripal's house.

Father and daughter were hospitalized for weeks in critical condition. Yulia Skripal was released last week from Salisbury District Hospital, where her father continues to be treated.

British officials say the Russian government was behind the attack using a Soviet-developed type of nerve agent known as Novichok. The international chemical weapons watchdog, the OPCW, has confirmed that a Novichok agent "of high purity" was used, although it has not identified where it was made.

Russia denies involvement in the attack and has accused Britain of failing to share its evidence.

The poisoning has sparked a Cold War-style diplomatic crisis between Russia and the West, including the expulsion of hundreds of diplomats from the two sides.

News - UK: Nerve agent that poisoned spy was in liquid form

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  • PER

    Putin has been re-establishing and fighting the Cold War since rising to power, unburdened by any opposition from the West. We've been a little slow on the uptake.

  • whitepine

    Between poison and internet hacking, Putin is attacking the West without ships, planes, and bombs. Cheaper than the massive US military.

  • Mr. Logical

    An entire city could be destroyed by a drone flying over with aerosol capabilities.
    Pretty terrifying.
    Makes me wonder how it *won't* happen someday...

  • muttonchops

    Here are a few questions the story does not address

    Why if this was put on a door handle, was it only these two that went to hospital. (Was it an isolated door handle).
    How can this nerve gas be so dangerous if only these two were hospitalized and how did the contamination spread so widely if only these two were sick.
    Something doesn't add up if you look at it from this stories view.

  • Joshua Paul

    I saw an interview with an inventor of this nerve agent (he defected to the US in the 90s). He said that it would make absolutely no sense to use this agent in the UK with its humid climate. This substance is extremely unstable in the humid atmosphere. So it simply does not add up.

  • Prophet With Honor

    This will generate conspiracy
    theories for years.

  • Jon

    The real cat-out-of-the-bag would be if these poisons used by Russia on their spies have the same components of the Syrian chemicals dumped on those innocent civilians.

  • unusual

    That the Russian government is creating these weapons is horrifying in itself. That they are using them goes far beyond any sense of human decency. Anyone could have touched that doorknob and ended up being victims of this diabolical scheme. Is this the new world order now? Use any means available, no matter how devastating it might be, to accomplish your goal, no matter how petty that goal might be? Targeting one person with something that could cause terrible consequences to countless innocent people is the hallmark of terrorists - and now apparently of governments as well.

  • ToothyGrinn

    "Novichok agent "of high purity" was used, although it has not identified where it was made."

    False accusations are always easier than real proof.