Chemical watchdog confirms novichok poisoned

Nerve agent The response immediately following the Salisbury attack

Britain said Thursday that an global chemical weapons monitoring organization's report strongly bolsters the case for Kremlin guilt in last month's poisoning of onetime spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, 33.

Russian agents also tested the effectiveness of Novichok nerve agent smeared on door handles as part of a secret chemical weapons programme codenamed Foliant, it has emerged.

The poisoning of father and daughter comes against the backdrop of an escalating confrontation between Russian Federation and the West over Syria. This is based on testing in four independent, highly reputable laboratories around the world. The OPCW was tasked with identifying the chemical, not with attributing its origin or ascertaining blame for the poisoning. But it did confirm Britain's analysis about the substance that had been used.

Johnson said the OPCW had confirmed Britain's assessment that the substance was "a military grade nerve agent - a Novichok".

Putin oversaw secret chemical assassination lab, UK says

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has also said: "Even if it's Novichok, about 20 countries produced it".

On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the report does nothing to back the British allegations that Moscow was behind the attack, which Moscow denies.

The global chemical weapons watchdog has said an analysis of samples gathered from Sergei Skripal, Yulia Skripal and detective sergeant Nick Bailey - the officer affected during the emergency response - confirmed the U.K.'s assessment of the incident.

"There can be no doubt what was used and there remains no alternative explanation about who was responsible - only Russian Federation has the means, motive and record".

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"This finding massively increases the pressure on Moscow to fully explain the exact course of events and background of the first nerve agent attack on European soil", he said.

He said Russia regarded at least some of its defectors as "legitimate targets for assassination", with the suggestion Sergei Skripal - a former member of Russian military intelligence sent to prison in 2004 after working with the United Kingdom - was on the list.

Yulia Skripal, who was released from hospital on Monday, said in a statement she was still suffering effects of the poisoning and her father remained seriously ill.

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