LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
NEWSCAST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

U.K. Police Investigating 2 New Cases Of Deadly Nerve Agent Poisoning

Listen to the Story

The U.K.'s head of Counter Terrorism Policing Neil Basu (right) and the chief medical officer for England Dame Sally Davies, speak at a news conference at New Scotland Yard in London on Wednesday. British police say a couple who are critically ill were exposed to the Russian nerve agent Novichok.

British Police say two people in their 40s are in critical condition after being contaminated by the same deadly nerve agent used to attack a former Russian spy there in March. They both became sick on Saturday in Amesbury, England.

"We can confirm that the man and woman have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, which has been identified as the same nerve agent that contaminated both Yulia and Sergei Skripal," a statement by Neil Basu, the head of U.K. Counter Terrorism Policing, said Wednesday night.

NPR's Alice Fordham reported on All Things Considered that police initially thought the couple had taken contaminated illegal recreational drugs, and warned people who had taken crack cocaine or heroin to be extra careful. But they continued investigating and now believe the couple has been exposed to the military-grade chemical weapon known as Novichok.

Amesbury is just a few miles from Salisbury, where Sergei Skripal — a former Russian spy and British double agent — and his daughter were poisoned with Novichok in March. The two eventually recovered. Authorities say they do not know how this new couple came into contact with the poison.

"There is no evidence that either the man or woman recently visited any of the sites that were decontaminated following the attempted murders of Sergei and Yulia Skripal," Basu said in the statement. "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."

Sergei Skripal came to Britain as part of a prisoner swap in 2010. He was found slumped over on a bench on March 4, along with Yulia. Police say the two had been poisoned at their home and that their front door proved to have a high concentration Novichok, which was first developed in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Yulia was discharged from the hospital in early April and Sergei in May.

The case sparked international outcry and set off a diplomatic row resulting in the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats from the U.S. and NATO member countries, and a reciprocal response from Moscow.

Areas in Salisbury and Amesbury have been cordoned off to the public, and Fordham reports this new poisoning has caused fears in the local community.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)
contact@kansaspublicradio.org