Police officer seeks treatment after Amesbury nerve agent attack

Fencing installed by the police of Salisbury at the entrance to the park where former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found on the bench

Fencing installed by the police of Salisbury at the entrance to the park where former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found on the bench

Two people in Amesbury, England, have been poisoned by the same nerve agent that almost killed a former Russian spy and his daughter earlier this year.

Local police declared the recent poisoning a "major incident" on Wednesday (Thursday NZT), four days after the couple - identified by friends as 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess and 45-year-old Charlie Rowley - were found at a residential building in Amesbury, 13km from Salisbury.

The Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police defended his force's initial response to the latest Novichok poisoning but could not rule out that further people could fall ill.

An operation into the poisoning of Mr Rowley and Ms Sturgess is expected to take months as police examine more than 1,300 hours of CCTV footage. Counterterrorism investigators from the Metropolitan Police have been dispatched to assist.

Although the United Kingdom and other Western governments were quick to accuse Russian Federation of being behind the Skripal poisoning, there remains zero proof that Russian Federation was involved in any way. The man and the woman, whose identities have not been released by authorities, were both in critical condition since being hospitalized on June 30. Police cordoned off several sites in both Amesbury and Salisbury where they suspected the couple visited.

Skripal - a former colonel in Russian military intelligence who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain's MI6 foreign spy service - and his daughter Yulia were found slumped unconscious on a park bench.

What's not known, or the police won't say, is where the couple came into contact with the nerve agent.

The deadly nerve agent was also used in an attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, at nearby Salisbury in March.

He said it has not yet been possible to ascertain whether the nerve agent is from the same batch of Novichok.

The building is a short distance away from numerous sites closed to the public after the attempted murder of a former Russian spy with the nerve agent in March.

Public Health England has repeated "highly precautionary advice" for those who have visited Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury; a property at John Baker House, Rolleston Street, Salisbury; a property on Muggleton Road, Amesbury; Boots the chemist, Stonehenge Walk, Amesbury, and the Baptist church on Raleigh Crescent, Amesbury.

"The possibility that these two investigations might be linked is clearly a line of inquiry for us".

"This evening we have received test results from Porton Down that show the two people have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok", Basu told reporters. The emergence of additional victims "will give it a renewed sense of urgency", particularly if one of them succumbs, said James Nixey, head of the Russian Federation and Eurasia program at Chatham House, a research group in London. British Home Secretary Sajid Javid told Parliament on Thursday that it is now time for Russian Federation to explain "exactly what has gone on".

Police are looking for a small vial feared to be contaminated with traces of Novichok.

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