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‘UK has problems with securing poisonous agents’ – former FSB chief

‘UK has problems with securing poisonous agents’ – former FSB chief
Russia’s former security services chief Sergei Stepashin believes the UK is incapable of investigating the Skripals case and Amesbury poisoning incident on its own. He said London has problems with securing the deadly substances.

“Apparently, the British side has problems with securing poisonous substances at the Porton Down laboratory,” he told Interfax news agency on Thursday, reacting to the news of two people being poisoned in Amesbury, UK. According to British authorities, both victims came in contact with the military-grade nerve agent ‘Novichok’, the same substance they claim was used to poison former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in March.

Stepashin, a veteran politician, who ran Russia’s Federal Security Service in the past and was the nation’s prime minister, believes the UK should look for leads “around Porton Down”, where samples of ‘Novichok’ and other deadly chemicals are stored, and “drop the insane theory of Russia’s culpability.” He further added that Britain “is incapable of investigating the Salisbury and Amesbury incidents on its own.”

The Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov called the news of the Amesbury poisoning “very disturbing” and of “grave concern”, considering it is not the first time a military-grade nerve agent had been allegedly used on the British soil.

Talking to reporters in Moscow, he reminded that Russia had offered to conduct a joint investigation with the UK into the Skripals' case, but received no answer. “Unfortunately, our proposals were not reciprocated,” Peskov said, noting that so far he is unaware of any official requests filed by the British government to Russia concerning the recent incident at Amesbury. The spokesperson reiterated that Russia “still strongly denies” any association with the Skripals’ poisoning.

Two victims of the Amesbury incident are a local couple: Charles Rowley, 45, and his partner Dawn Sturgess, 44. Both were hospitalized on Saturday, and remain in a critical condition.

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