07:22 GMT17 April 2021
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    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday the ministry is concerned about the absence of information on the condition of pets belonging to former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal.

    Zakharova told reporters that information on the fate of Skripal's pets could help the investigation into the case of poisoning of the former spy and his daughter.

    "We have checked this information. I haven't seen it mentioned in the media but we are reliably informed that the Skripal family had pets living with them," the spokesperson said at a briefing in Moscow, without specifying exactly what pets the former agent had.

    The UK government has alleged that the Skripals were exposed to the A-234 nerve agent, supposedly related to the Novichok-class nerve agents developed in the Soviet Union. According to Zakharova, if Skripal was poisoned at his residence, the pets would also have suffered symptoms from the nerve agent.

    READ MORE: Skripal Poison Could Have Been Produced in US, UK, France — EU Researcher

    "Here's the question for the UK: where are the pets? What is their condition, why is the UK silent on the fact while it is busy referring to unidentified sources in the media?" Zakharova asked.  

    On April 3, specialists from Britain's military research center at Porton Down said they were unable to identify the precise source of the nerve agent allegedly used to poison Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

    "We were able to identify it as Novichok, to identify that it was a military-grade nerve agent. We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to the government, which had then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions," said Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down.

    Olivier Lepick, a European expert on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, confirmed in an interview with the TV network RTBF that the poisonous substance could have been produced in a number of countries, including the United States, Britain and France.

    Relations between the UK and Russia have seriously deteriorated after British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Moscow of organizing the March 4 poisoning in Salisbury, England.


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    poisoning, Novichok, Sergei Skripal, Maria Zakharova, Russia, United Kingdom
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