UK Defense Lab Says it Hasn't IDed Source of Nerve Agent

The head of the British military facility, dealing with the nerve agent used for poisoning ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, on Tuesday said it has "not identified the precise source" of the substance.

"We have not verified the precise source", the executive, Gary Aitkenhead, told Sky News.

'1) Porton Down identified nerve agent as military grade Novichok; 2) Russian Federation has investigated delivering nerve agents, likely for assassination, & as part of this programme has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichoks; 3) Russian Federation has motive for targeting Sergei Skripal.

Aitkenhead said the British government had "other inputs" it could use to determine the origin of the nerve agent, some of them intelligence-based.

Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Boris Johnson will have to apologise to Russian Federation for claiming Moscow was involved in the attempted murder of former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

"I would like to inform you, although we have already told [you] about that, we are convening a OPCW Executive Council session tomorrow to look into the situation in detail", Putin said during a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

It came two weeks after Mr Johnson gave an interview to the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, and was asked why he believed the chemical came from Russian Federation.

Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament on March 12 that the agent used against the Skripals' was "of a type" (novichok) manufactured in Russian Federation.

Aitkenhead said the attack with a highly toxic chemical weapon was "probably only within the capabilities of a state actor".

As the fallout from the incident continues, both Skripal and his daughter remain hospitalized in Salisbury.

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He had been asked why the British Government believed the nerve agent came from Russian Federation.

"This can be also beneficial to the British government which found itself in an inconvenient situation after failing to fulfil its promises to voters on Brexit's conditions", he said, referring to the deepening political crisis over Britain's exit from the European Union.

But he told Sky News it was not Porton Down's role to work out where the agent came from.

May expelled 23 Russian diplomats as a punitive measure, with the US, Canada and Ukraine, as well as about 20 European countries, supporting the United Kingdom claims and expelling more than 150 Russian diplomats.

Following his remarks, a British government spokesman said Porton Down's identification of Novichok was "only one part of the intelligence picture".

He claimed on German television that this was a Russian-produced nerve agent and Porton Down then examined it and said all they could identify it was as novichok.

'There is no way anything like that could have come from us or left the four walls of our facility, ' he said.

The OPCW said Russian Federation had asked for the upcoming meeting.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons told CNN an emergency meeting will be held on Wednesday at Russia's request.

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