Monday, 18 February, 2019

Russia Responds to British Defense Minister's Novichok Accusation

Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess Image Mother of three Dawn Sturgess died after being exposed to novichok
Deanna Wagner | 11 July, 2018, 13:38

"We sincerely apologize if any offence was caused, especially to the families of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, and understand the timing of the release of this product may have lacked sensitivity", the company said in a statement, quoted by the Bristol Post.

Novichok poison victim Charlie Rowley regained consciousness on Tuesday and is now in a critical but stable condition, Salisbury District Hospital announced.

"It may be that it will never be possible to establish such a definitive link, but (the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down) are already crystal clear that it is the same nerve agent type - a novichok - one that killed Dawn and poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripal as well as Nick Bailey and Charlie Rowley".

The 45-year-old "is still very unwell", and in critical but stable condition, according to the statement.

Britain's public health authority acknowledged on Friday the concerns of people living in the area after the two incidents involving Novichok, but said it was confident that the risk to the public remained low.

Ms Sturgess died on Sunday, while her partner Mr Rowley remains in hospital.

Britain has blamed Russian Federation for the attack on the Skripals - a charge strongly denied by Moscow which has challenged British authorities to publish the evidence.

"Clearly that is our main line of inquiry, but our investigation must be led by the evidence available and the facts".

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Ms Sturgess died on Sunday evening at Salisbury District Hospital.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was appalled and shocked by Sturgess's death and the interior minister, Sajid Javid, said the "desperately sad news only strengthens our resolve to find out exactly what has happened".

Basu said the severe reaction of Sturgess and Rowley meant they must have received a high dose of Novichok.

Police officers guard a cordon in Salisbury, one of five locations in the city and Amesbury under investigation. The search is focused on their homes and a park in Salisbury.

Peskov said that linking Russian Federation to the poisoning would be "absurd".

The father and daughter have recovered since their March 4 poisoning.

Asked whether the death could cloud the upcoming US-Russia summit in Helsinki next week, Peskov replied that the poisoning "has no relation" to the meeting.