The controversy surrounding the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in Salisbury, England intensified Wednesday after Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office deleted tweet accusing Russia of having produced the nerve agent used in the attack.
Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office have made an unusual apparent U-turn on their previously robust rhetoric on the origin of the nerve agent used to poison Sergei and Julia Skripal Wednesday, just hours after chiefs at the Porton Down defence laboratory — home to Britain’s chemical weapons research establishment — denied they had been able to isolate the origin of the chemical.
The Foreign Office Tweet, which had come on the 22nd of March as the account live-Tweeted remarks of Britains’ ambassador to Russia and said: “analysis by world-leading experts… made clear that this was a military-grade Novickok nerve agent produced in Russia”. The Foreign Office confirmed they had deleted the tweet Wednesday.
2/ …but the media knows to go for the jugular with May/Johnson right now would mean an election that Corbyn might (though likely wouldn't) win and/or a Conservative Party leadership contest that would see someone like @Jacob_Rees_Mogg take over as PM…
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) April 4, 2018
The Tweet came after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told German television that there was “no doubt” the nerve agent had come from Russia, and he had recieved personal assurances from Porton Down to that effect.
Depite that, Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Porton Down defence laboratory told Britain’s Sky News this week that analysts had identified it as military-grade Novichok, but they had not proved it was made in Russia.
“We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions,” he said.
“It is our job to provide the scientific evidence of what this particular nerve agent is. We identified that it is from this particular family and that it is a military grade, but it is not our job to say where it was manufactured.”
The Foreign Office deletion u-turn comes amid heightened tensions between Russia and Western nations. Breitbart London reported in March on strident rhetoric published in Russia’s Pravda, a news organisation traditionally thought of as a Kremlin mouthpiece, which invoked previously forgotten rhetoric warning: “we are in a state of real and full-scale Cold War with all the ensuing consequences”.
AFP contributed to this article