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British Officials: Nerve Agent That Poisoned Two People Same as Earlier Incident

A British police vehicle stands parked next to an area which was extended overnight to include the Lush House car park adjacent to the Queen Elizabeth Gardens park in Salisbury, England, Thursday, July 5, 2018. The area has been linked to what is believed to be another chemical incident involving a nerve agent.
British Officials: Nerve Agent That Poisoned Two People Same as Earlier Incident
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Britain’s interior minister says a poison used to sicken a British man and woman last week is the same one that sickened a former Russian spy and his daughter.

Sajid Javid gave the latest report on the two people found unresponsive in the town of Amesbury. The two have been identified as 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess and 45-year-old Charlie Rowley.

Javid said of the poisonous substance, “This has been identified as the same nerve agent that contaminated both Yulia and Sergei Skripal.”

The attack on the Skripals took place in March in the city of Salisbury. They were poisined with Novichok, a nerve agent developed by the former Soviet Union.

British Security Minister Ben Wallace spoke to the BBC on Thursday. He said investigators believe the new incident resulted from the earlier one that involved the Skripals. But he also said investigators do not believe that Sturgess and Rowley were meant to be targeted in the latest incident.

Javid said it is not clear if the nerve agent found in the latest incident was from the same batch as the one that poisoned the Skripals.

The unexpected poisoning of the couple has raised public concerns in the Salisbury area.

Salisbury is 13 kilometers from Amesbury. Health officials, however, say the risk to the public is low. Sturgess and Rowley have no known links to Russia. Britain blamed Russia for poisoning the Skripals.

Wallace called on Russia to share information about the poisoning.

Russia has denied any involvement in either incident. It has claimed that Britain is at fault and is seeking to create anti-Russian feelings.

Russia said Thursday it had offered assistance to Britain with the Skripal investigation, but that Britain refused the offer.

The incident resulted in the biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats since the Cold War. The United States and European allies took the side of Britain and blamed Russia for the incident.

I’m Mario Ritter.

VOA’s Smita Nordwall and the Associated Press reported this story. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

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Words in This Story

unresponsive - adj. not able to react to

nerve agent –n. a kind of poison that affects the nervous system

contaminated –adj. something that has had a substance added to it that makes it harmful

batch –n. an amount of something that is made at one time