British police race to find source of new nerve agent poisoning

British police race to find source of new nerve agent poisoning

The pair remain in critical condition after being rushed on Saturday to Salisbury District Hospital, the same hospital that treated former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia who were poisoned in March.

British investigators have descended upon a small English town to find out how two seemingly random individuals were exposed to the same Soviet-era nerve agent that almost killed a former Russian double agent and his daughter earlier this year.

Prime Minister Theresa May subsequently pointed the finger of blame at agents working for Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation.

The two patients "are both now receiving treatment for suspected exposure to an unknown substance at Salisbury District Hospital", a police statement said.

Russian Federation denied involvement in the first attack.

"The Novichok gel that was smeared on the handle of the Skripals' house was presumably transported in some device or syringe", he said.

Two people in their 40s fall ill at a property in Muggleton Road in Amesbury, about eight miles to the north of Salisbury. Still, residents could not contain their unease with a second brush with Novichok, even though public health officials said the risk of contamination to anyone was very low.

He said it has not yet been possible to ascertain whether the nerve agent is from the same batch of Novichok. They spent weeks in hospital before being discharged. They've also said that, unlike the Skripals, the couple was not deliberately targeted with the Soviet-era nerve agent, which acts rapidly to slow the heart and restrict airways.

The United States and European allies took the side of Britain and blamed Russian Federation for the incident.

Russian chemical weapons expert Anton Utkin told Rossiya 1's "60 Minutes" programme that both the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and the incident in Amesbury "could somehow be linked with some sort of narcotics".

"How dumb they think [Russia] is to use "again" so-called "Novichok" in the middle of the FIFA World Cup and after the special session of the CSP...", the tweet reads. The people affected are not officially named by police, who still believe they have fallen victim to a contaminated batch of drugs - "possibly heroin or crack cocaine".

Wallace did add, however, that he is "waiting for the phone call from the Russian state - the offer is there".

"I have received test results from Porton Down (military research centre) which show that the two people have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok", Neil Basu, Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer, told reporters. "They are the ones who could fill in all the clues to keep people safe".

Police said officers were called Saturday morning about a collapsed woman in Amesbury, then were summoned back in the evening after a man fell ill at the same property.

British police scoured sections of Salisbury and Amesbury in southwest England on Friday, searching for a small vial feared to be contaminated with traces of the deadly nerve agent Novichok.

The Skripals' illness initially baffled doctors after they were found unconscious March 4 on a park bench in Salisbury.



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