British security forces believe that while they are not 100 percent certain, they have a “high degree of confidence in the location” of the Russian source of the nerve agent Novichok that was used against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
A government source told the Times that security forces “knew pretty much by the time of the first Cobra [the emergency co-ordination briefing that took place the same week] that it was overwhelmingly likely to come from Russia.”
Security sources told the Times they believe Russians conducted tests to see whether Novichok could be used for assassinations.
The international chemical weapons watchdog on Wednesday rejected Russia’s call for a joint investigation into the Salisbury poisoning. But Russia said the number of countries that abstained from the vote suggested many have doubts about Britain’s allegations that Moscow was behind the attack and now plans to take its denials of involvement to the U.N. Security Council.
Britain said Russia’s proposal for a joint investigation received only six votes at a special session of the executive council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The council has representatives from 41 countries.
Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer, was convicted of in Russia of spying for Britain. He was released from a Russian prison as part of a spy swap with the West.
His poisoning has plunged relations between the West and Russia to their lowest ebb since the Cold War.
In Moscow, Russia’s spymaster claimed U.K. and U.S. intelligence agencies “staged” the attack.
Sergei Naryshkin, director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, continues to claim that the assassination attempt of Skripal was a “grotesque provocation rudely staged by the British and U.S. intelligence agencies.” Meanwhile, the 28-nation European Union lamented the refusal of Russia to cooperate with the British.
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