(Steve Parsons/PA via AP)

Contaminated Item Poisoned U.K. Couple

The Latest: UK nerve-agent victims handled contaminated item

July 05, 2018 - 1:38 pm
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LONDON (AP) — British police have confirmed that a man and woman critically ill from nerve-agent poisoning were exposed to the toxin by handling a contaminated item.

The finding bolsters the theory that Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley may have stumbled across traces of the Novichok nerve agent used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

The Skripals spent weeks in critical condition after being attacked in the southwest England city of Salisbury in March. Sturgess and Rowley collapsed in Amesbury, a few miles away, on Saturday. They are in critical condition in Salisbury District Hospital.

The Metropolitan Police force said Thursday that "following further tests of samples from the patients, we now know that they were exposed to the nerve agent after handling a contaminated item."

Detectives have cordoned off several sites in Amesbury and Salisbury as they search for the source of the contamination.

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The Russian Foreign Ministry is calling on British Prime Minister Theresa May to end "intrigues and games with chemical agents," referring to a second poisoning case with the nerve agent Novichok in southwest England.

Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova is also urging London to allow Russia to investigate the March poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, along with British investigators.

Zakharova told reporters Thursday that "this government and specifically its leadership will one day have to apologize to Russia and the international community."

Police say a British couple in their 40s was poisoned by the same lethal toxin developed by the Soviet Union that almost killed Skripal and his daughter in March.

Britain says Russia was behind the March attack on the Skripals. Moscow strongly denies that.

 

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