UK Intel: Russia Experienced In Using Nerve Agent
Russia has run programs investigating methods of delivering nerve agents, "including by application to door handles," and is "highly likely" responsible for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, according to intelligence made public by the UK on Friday.
In a letter to the NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, UK national security adviser Mark Sedwill says there is "no plausible alternative explanation" for the attack in Salisbury on March 4 that left the Skripals hospitalized, according to CNN.
Yulia was discharged from the hospital earlier this week and is being kept in an unknown location. Her father remains hospitalized but is no longer in critical condition.
Russia has denied all involvement in the incident, which the UK blames on Moscow.
Police believe the pair first came into contact with the nerve agent, identified by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons as Novichok, at Sergei Skripal's home and identified the highest concentration of the substance on the front door.
Sedwill outlines how the Soviet Union "developed a new class of 'fourth generation' nerve agents, known as Novichoks" during the 1980s and Russia was probably the only former Soviet republic to pursue "an offensive chemical weapons programme after independence."
He goes on to describe how Russia later launched a program to test methods of delivering chemical warfare agents and to train personnel in their use.