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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

I developed deadly nerve agent, says Russian researcher

Vladimir Uglev said that in 1975 he developed the substance probably used to attack former double agent Sergei Skripal last month

The former double agent Sergei Skripal is recovering in hospital after a nerve agent attack in Salisbury, southern England.  Yuri Senatorov / AFP
The former double agent Sergei Skripal is recovering in hospital after a nerve agent attack in Salisbury, southern England. Yuri Senatorov / AFP

A former member of Soviet research team that created nerve agents says he was "probably" behind the substance that was used to attack the former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, according to a newspaper report.

Vladimir Uglev told the Financial Times that he was responsible for developing a compound in 1975 that he believed was used to attack the pair in Salisbury, southern England, last month. The victims remain in hospital, where they are recovering and off the critical list.

Mr Uglev backed the British government’s version of events which has blamed Moscow for the attack and started a worldwide expulsion of diplomats and other measures in response.

Moscow denies involvement in the attack and has a series of alternative explanations for who was responsible.

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“As a Russian citizen, I do not accept the great-power chauvinism fanned by the regime of Kremlin-Lubyanka thieves and killers, and therefore fully understand and support the policy of the British government towards Russia,” Mr Uglev told the newspaper.

Experts from Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are carrying their own tests into the substance. Mr Uglev said they would be unlikely to secure absolute proof of Russian involvement from the analysis.

Russia last week seized on remarks by the head of the British research establishment carrying out tests that it could not definitively pinpoint Russia as the source. The UK said it had relied on other sources of information to attribute blame.