Russian Novichok Nerve Agent Strikes U.K. on Eve of NATO Summit

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Russian Novichok Nerve Agent Strikes U.K. on Eve of NATO Summit

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On 30 June 2018, two British nationals, 45-year-old Charlie Rowley and 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess, were hospitalised in a critical condition after being found unconscious at a property in Amesbury, Wiltshire. Police determined they were poisoned by Novichok nerve agent of the same kind used in the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal in the city of Salisbury, 7 miles away, almost four months prior.

The incident is being investigated by the National Counter Terrorism Policing Network alongside Wiltshire Police and the Metropolitan Police. According to the Metropolitan Police, there is nothing in either of the victims' backgrounds to suggest that they were deliberately targeted, and there have been no other reports of people presenting with similar symptoms.

At approximately 10:15 Saturday 30 June 2018, the South Western Ambulance Service was called to a residential address, after Dawn Sturgess had collapsed. She was subsequently taken to hospital.
That same day, at approximately 15:30, the South Western Ambulance Service was called back to that same address, after Charlie Rowley had fallen ill. He was taken to hospital, and Wiltshire Police were informed of the incident.

During initial assessment, it was believed the illness was caused by the use of contaminated illegal drugs, however, on Monday 2 July the hospital staff treating them had concerns over the symptoms the couple were displaying, leading to samples from both being sent to the Government's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down for analysis, which were confirmed to have been Novichok nerve agent on 4 July. Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu stated "we are not in a position to say whether the nerve agent was from the same batch that the Skripals were exposed to. The possibility that these two investigations might be linked is clearly a line of enquiry for us. It is important, however, that the investigation is led by the evidence available and the facts alone and we don’t make any assumptions."

Sites in both Amesbury and Salisbury which are believed to have been visited by the couple have been cordoned off, with public access being closed for these sites. These sites are the local Boots Pharmacy, the Baptist Centre, and Muggleton Road in Amesbury, and the Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury.

Local residents have been warned that there will be an increased police presence, including more officers wearing protective equipment.[url=][/url]

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07-05-2018, 12:56 AM
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