UK Confirms Novichok In Latest Poisoning Same As Used On Skripals

The UK government has now confirmed that the Novichok nerve agent used in its latest poisoning case is the same kind that was used to poison Yulia and Sergei Skripal, according to the Telegraph. Charles Rowley, 45, and Dawn Sturgess, 44, became critically ill after being exposed to the nerve agent in Amesbury, just a few miles away from the Salisbury strip mall where the Skripals fell ill. UK Police confirmed on Wednesday that Novichok was used in the poisoning.

And seemingly right on cue, as suspicion has immediately been directed at the Russians, UK Security Minister Ben Wallace, the minister who confirmed that the Novichok used on Sturgess and Rowley was the same used on the Skripals, has asked Russia to "fill in all the clues to keep people safe" - or basically admit its involvement in a crime that has barely begun to be investigated.

So, to review:

  • An Amesbury couple in their 40's, Dawn Sturgess, 44, and Charlie Rowley, 45 were poisoned with Novichok nerve agent

  • Police were initially called after Sturgess fell ill, only to return later that evening after Rowley also fell ill

  • None of the other people who were with the couple at Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury the day before fell ill

  • One of the last places the couple was seen together in public was a family fund ay at Amesbury Baptist Centre on Saturday afternoon. The church has been cordoned off by police

  • Wiltshire police originally thought the couple had taken contaminated heroin or crack cocaine

  • Authorities don't believe there is "a significant health risk to the wider public" at this time

  • Rowley and Sturgess remain in critical condition in Salisbury District Hospital

  • The address where the couple were found is on a new housing development on the southern edge of the town, which lies close to Stonehenge per ITV

  • UK authorities believe the Novichok nerve agent that caused the poisoning was the same used in the Skripal attack and that the couple somehow encountered it by accident.

But it's Russia's fault.

Poisoning
Dawn Sturgess and Charles Rowley

This, despite also contending that the victims in the latest crime encountered the substance "accidentally". because if people thought Russia was randomly poisoning UK citizens, we imagine pandemonium would break out.

Amid fears the public could still be at risk, Ben Wallace, the security minister, confirmed the "working asaccusesumption" is the couple taken ill in Amesbury - around eight miles from Salisbury - were not targeted victims, but encountered the substance accidentally. Novichok can be inhaled as a fine powder, absorbed through the skin or ingested.

He called on Moscow to provide information, saying: "The Russian state could put this wrong right. They could tell us what happened. What they did. And fill in some of the significant gaps that we are trying to pursue.

"We have said they can come and tell us what happened. I'm waiting for the phone call from the Russian state. The offer is there. They are the ones who could fill in all the clues to keep people safe."

UK police were initially summoned Saturday morning after Sturgess collapsed, but returned to the same address later that evening after Rowley also fell ill. Wiltshire police have declared the sickening a "major incident," which will allow more than one emergency agency to respond. Police from 40 departments around England and Wales only just returned home last month from working the Skripal case, while specially trained workers have been decontaminating areas around Salisbury for months.

Novichok

With Rowley and Sturgess both in comas in the hospital, the Kremlin has "categorically denied" any involvement in the Salisbury attack and said the UK "showed no interest" in a joint investigation. The Kremlin described the Rowley-Sturgess poisoning as "disturbing" but said it had not received anything from the UK about the incident. Police have have already ruled out the possibility that the couple had been deliberately targeted, and John Glen, the Conservative MP for Salisbury, has said he believes the couple somehow come into contact with discarded Novichok that was outside of the Salisbury cleanup area.

And of course, all of this is happening just two weeks before the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki, which also begs the question: Why would Russia risk another diplomatic incident breaking out just weeks before such an important meeting? Though another poisoning case will certainly be red meat for members of NATO - who love their "Russian aggression" - ahead of their summit.