04:23 GMT +316 July 2018
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    Investigators in protective suits work at the scene in the Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, England, Tuesday, March 13, 2018

    UK Court Allows Blood Samples to be Taken from Skripals for OPCW Testing

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    Moscow has repeatedly demanded that London should abide by the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and provide Russia with access to the samples of the nerve-agent which was allegedly used to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

    On OPCW Probe

    The UK Court of Protection has given permission for blood samples of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who were poisoned in Salisbury, to be taken for testing by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

    READ MORE: Russian Journalist Covering Skripal Case Reveals She Was Threatened in UK

    On March 14, the UK envoy to the UN Security Council announced that the United Kingdom had asked the OPCW to independently verify its findings in the nerve agent attack against Skripal. On Monday, the OPCW experts arrived in the United Kingdom for the investigation.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry requested the UK Foreign Office to allow a joint investigation into the case. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded that Moscow should receive access to all the facts and documents connected with the investigation, since one of the victims is Yulia Skripal, a Russian citizen. The minister also stressed that the UK's obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons imply that if there are any suspicions that a poisonous substance prohibited by the Convention was used, then the state suspected of producing it needs to be contacted, since this state has the right to receive access to the substance in order to analyze it on its own. However, Moscow has not received any requests of this kind from London.

    The UK Foreign Office said that the country was acting in compliance with the regulations of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which does not require it to share samples of the nerve agent with Russia.

    On Skripals' Condition

    The British court says that Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia are in physically stable condition and both being treated on the basis that they would wish to be kept alive and to achieve optimal recovery. Concerning the pace of recovery it is impossible to say when they will "regain capacity," according to the court.

    British court judgement also added that blood samples from Skripals were tested by the UK's Porton Down lab, testing positive for presence of A-234 nerve agent or a substanceof a related class.

    Ex-Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious earlier in March on a bench at a shopping center in Salisbury. Both of them remain in critical condition and are being treated for exposure to a chemical. 

    READ MORE: Who Could Benefit From Poisoning Former Spy Sergei Skripal

    UK Prime Minister Theresa May has accused Russia of orchestrating the attack on the former intelligence officer and expelled 23 Russian diplomats as a punitive measure.

    The Russian side has strongly rejected the accusations and offered assistance in the investigation. However, Moscow's request for samples of the chemical substance used to poison Skripal was denied. Moscow also expelled UK diplomats and ordered the British Council to stop its activities in Russia in response to the UK move.

    Related:

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    Media Reports Second UK Policeman 'in Hospital' After Skripal Poisoning
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    Russia's UK Envoy to EU on Skripal Case Reaction: 'Trust But Verify'
    OPCW Inspectors Reportedly Begin Work at Scene of Skripal Attack in Salisbury
    UK Reportedly Wants to Prod EU to Slap Sanctions on Russia Over Skripal Case
    Tags:
    blood, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Sergei Skripal, United Kingdom, Russia
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