Monday, April 23, 2018

The Latest: Russia urges full access to evidence in spy case

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the nerve agent attack on a Russian ex-spy and his daughter in Britain (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

Russia says it won't accept any conclusions on the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy unless it gets full access to evidence in the case.

A report by investigators at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed British findings that double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent on March 4, but didn't identify its source. Britain blamed Russia for the attack, and Moscow fervently denied the accusations.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Thursday accused Britain of waging a defamation campaign against Russia, manipulating public opinion and hiding facts.

Zakharova charged that British officials were keeping Skripal's daughter in isolation. She added that Moscow will continue to demand access to her and prod Britain to share evidence in the case.

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4:40 p.m.

Britain's U.N. ambassador is asking for a Security Council meeting next week on the international chemical weapons watchdog's report confirming British findings that a military-grade nerve agent of high purity was used to poison a former spy and his daughter.

Karen Pierce told reporters at U.N. headquarters on Thursday that the U.K. has also asked the director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to call an executive council meeting next Wednesday. She said the Security Council meeting "will most probably be on Wednesday afternoon."

She said the U.K. sees the council meeting as an opportunity to update its members as well as the broader U.N. membership on the OPCW findings.

Britain has blamed Russia for the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, with a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union. Russia denies any involvement, saying Britain hasn't provided any evidence for its assertion.

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1:20 p.m.

A Russian government official says it's impossible to determine the source of a nerve agent used to poison a Russian ex-spy in Britain.

Georgy Kalamanov, Russia's deputy minister of industry and trade, told Interfax news agency Thursday it's impossible to pinpoint the agent's origin and reaffirmed Moscow's demand for a probe that would involve Russia.

A report by investigators at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed British findings that former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent on March 4, but didn't identify its source.

Britain has blamed Russia for the March 4 poisoning of the Skripals with a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union. Russia denies any involvement, saying Britain hasn't provided evidence to support its assertion.

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12:15 p.m.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says that only the Russians had the "means motive and record" to launch a nerve agent attack on a former spy and his daughter.

Johnson's statement came after the international chemical watchdog confirmed Britain's finding that Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a toxin of "high purity."

Johnson says "there can be no doubt what was used and there remains no alternative explanation about who was responsible — only Russia has the means the motive and record."

Britain has blamed Russia for the March 4 poisoning of the Skripals with a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union. Russia denies any involvement, saying Britain hasn't provided evidence to support its assertion.

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Noon

The international chemical weapons watchdog has confirmed Britain's finding that a former spy and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent.

The report Thursday says Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons investigators "confirm the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury."

It says the chemical was "of high purity." The summary does not name Novichok — the name that was previously given by British Prime Minister Theresa May — but says the details of the toxin are in the full classified report.

It does not identify the source.

Britain has blamed Russia for the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, with a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union. Russia denies any involvement, saying Britain hasn't provided any evidence for its assertion.

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10:25 a.m.

The international chemical watchdog is preparing to release its report on the nerve agent used to poison a former spy and his daughter in southwestern England as Russia continues to deny suggestions that it was behind the attack.

Britain's Foreign Office says it has asked the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to publish a summary of its findings at midday on Thursday.

Britain has blamed Russia for the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, with a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union. Russia denies any involvement, saying Britain hasn't provided any evidence for its assertion.

The findings come after Yulia Skripal on Wednesday rejected Russian embassy assistance, adding that "no one speaks for me, or for my father, but ourselves."

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9:50 a.m.

Russia's Embassy in London is questioning the authenticity of a statement attributed to one of the victims of a nerve agent attack in England, saying it has been crafted to support Britain's version of events.

The embassy says the statement released Wednesday by the Metropolitan Police Service on behalf of Yulia Skripal strengthens suspicions she is being held against her will.

It says British authorities "must urgently provide tangible evidence that Yulia is alright and not deprived of her freedom."

Yulia Skripal, 33, was released from the hospital earlier this week and transferred to an undisclosed "secure location." Britain blames Russia for the attack on Yulia and her father, the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal. They were found slumped on a park bench in the city of Salisbury on March 4.

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