British police continue hunt for poison used against ex-spy

British police continue hunt for poison used against ex-spy
In this file photo taken on March 08, 2018 members of the emergency services in green biohazard encapsulated suits arrive to afix the tent over the bench where a man and a woman were found on March 4 in critical condition at The Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, southern England, after the tent became detached. (AFP)
Updated 08 July 2018

British police continue hunt for poison used against ex-spy

British police continue hunt for poison used against ex-spy
  • All four were sickened by Novichok, a nerve agent weapon developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War
  • The man and woman poisoned a week ago are in critical condition at Salisbury District Hospital

LONDON: Authorities conducted extensive forensic tests Saturday looking for the source of a nerve agent that sickened two people thought to have handled a contaminated item from the March attack on a Russian ex-spy and his daughter.
A police officer also underwent a precautionary test at a hospital to check for possible contamination related to the case, but Wiltshire Police said late Saturday that he had been cleared.
The man and woman poisoned a week ago are in critical condition at Salisbury District Hospital, which is also where Sergei and Yulia Skripal spent months being treated after they were poisoned.
Authorities have said all four were sickened by Novichok, a nerve agent weapon developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Police think 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess and her partner, 45-year-old Charley Rowley, had secondary exposure to the chemical weapon used in the attack on the Skripals.
Police have said they are looking for a vial that may contain Novichok. It is a slow and painstaking process as there is no easy way to use modern technology to pinpoint the location of the rare nerve agent.
Officials have said the search could take weeks or months. It has brought more than 100 officers to Salisbury and the nearby town of Amesbury as suspect sites are condoned off to protect the public from possible contamination.
The police officer given the all clear underwent “appropriate specialist tests,” the Salisbury hospital said.
The hospital did not say whether the unidentified officer might have been exposed to Novichok. But a statement said the officer initially sought medical advice at another hospital “in connection with the ongoing incident in Amesbury,” which is where the latest victims developed symptoms of Novichok poisoning.
The Salisbury hospital added that it “has seen a number of members of the public who have come to the hospital with health concerns since this incident started and none have required any treatment.”
“We would like to reiterate the advice from Public Health England that the risk to the wider public remains low,” the hospital said.


Kremlin says would welcome Biden’s efforts to extend New START arms control treaty

Kremlin says would welcome Biden’s efforts to extend New START arms control treaty
Updated 20 January 2021

Kremlin says would welcome Biden’s efforts to extend New START arms control treaty

Kremlin says would welcome Biden’s efforts to extend New START arms control treaty
  • The New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) accord limits the numbers of strategic nuclear warheads
  • A failure to extend New START could fuel a potential arms race and tensions between Moscow and Washington

MOSCOW: The Kremlin said on Wednesday it remained committed to extending the New START nuclear arms control treaty with the United States and would welcome efforts promised by the administration of US President-elect Joe Biden to reach agreement.
The New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) accord, which was signed in 2010 and expires in February, limits the numbers of strategic nuclear warheads, missiles and bombers that Russia and the United States can deploy.
“Russia and its president are in favor of preserving this agreement,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call. “If our American colleagues will in fact demonstrate a political will to preserve this pact by extending it, this can only be welcomed.”
Biden’s choice for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Tuesday that the incoming US administration would seek to extend the pact and decide how long an extension to pursue.
Russian President Vladimir Putin last year called on Washington to extend the last major nuclear arms pact between the two countries for a year without any conditions.
A failure to extend New START could fuel a potential arms race and tensions between Moscow and Washington.