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UK calls on Russia to come forward over Novichok poisoning cases

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UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid called Thursday for Russia to provide explanations after it was confirmed that two people were exposed to the same Soviet-era nerve agent that nearly killed a former Russian double agent and his daughter earlier this year.

The UK government blames Russia for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March, a claim Moscow denies.
Now a couple identified in British media as Charlie Rowley, 45, and Dawn Sturgess, 44, are in critical condition in Salisbury District Hospital — the same hospital where the Skripals were treated — after falling ill Saturday in the nearby town of Amesbury.
“It is now time that the Russian state comes forward and explains exactly what has gone on so that the most appropriate course of action can be taken,” Javid told Parliament after chairing a meeting of Britain’s emergency committee.
“It is completely unacceptable for our people to be either deliberate or accidental targets. Or for our streets, our parks or our towns to be dumping grounds for poison.”
Javid told lawmakers that all the sites that were decontaminated after the Skripal poisoning are safe and there is “no significant risk” to the public.
After additional tests, authorities now suspect the pair were exposed to Novichok after “handling a contaminated item,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement Thursday. “Detectives are working as quickly and as diligently as possible to identify the source of the contamination,” the statement read.
Six sites have been cordoned off by police in Amesbury and Salisbury, both in the southern English county of Wiltshire, as they investigate the latest poisoning. Anyone who visited those sites is advised to wash their clothes and any items they had with them, Javid said.
Police have expanded their investigation of one of those sites — low-income housing in the center of Salisbury — to include part of the nearby street and inside the building. Dawn Sturgess is understood to have links to John Baker House, which CNN saw residents leaving under instruction from police. The social housing is located about half a mile from a restaurant where the Skripals dined before falling ill.
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