Skripals poisoning: Experts not sure if nerve agent was made in Russia
After all the diplomatic tit-for-tat in which Russia expelled several western diplomats to retaliate against the West's doing the same over Moscow's alleged poisoning of a former spy and his daughter in Salisbury, England. The Porton Down laboratory in the UK has said that the actual source of the nerve agent used to target Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal wasn't verified.
Though the nerve agent was identified as Novichok, which was developed by the erstwhile Soviet Union and Russia between 1971 and 1993, it couldn't be established that the substance used in this particular case was made in Russia.
Chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, Gary Aitkenhead, said this. He also rubbished the Russian claims that the nerve agent was made in a UK military laboratory. He also added that it was the scientists' role to find out the exact source of the nerve agent.
Russia meets world chemical weapons' watchdog
The laboratory chief's remarks came a day before Russia's meeting with the executive council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the world's chemical weapons' watchdog.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has hoped that a line can be drawn at the scheduled meeting on Wednesday, April 4. He was surprised by the extent to which opinions were mobilised against Russia over the Salisbury incident and said Moscow also wanted to be a part of the investigation. The West condemned the incident after the UK said it was a violation of international law and borders by Russia and a number of European Union member states as well as the US gave marching orders to over 150 Russian diplomats as a mark of protest.
The Russians also expelled West's diplomats and floated a number of conspiracy theories that instigated such action by the West. While one theory said the West was desperate to deny Russia the right to host the World Cup football in June and July, another said the poisoning incident suited the UK's interests more as it found itself in deep trouble over the Brexit which is due to happen in March next year.
The UK foreign office which said it was the intelligence which made it believe that Russia was responsible for the Salisbury case, still maintained that Russia was responsible for it as it thought there is no possibility of any other "plausible explanation".