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Cops warn no "guarantee" U.K. clear of deadly nerve agent Novichok after attack on ex-spy
LONDON -- The nerve agent Novichok could remain active for 50 years if kept in a sealed container, Britain's top counterterrorism police officer said Wednesday, adding that he cannot yet "guarantee" there are no traces of the lethal poison in southwestern England. Metropolitan Police Assistant Police Commissioner Neil Basu told residents of Amesbury Tuesday night that police are searching for the container that held the nerve agent believed to have poisoned two people on June 30.
"I would love to be able to say that we have identified and caught the people responsible and how we are certain there are no traces of nerve agent left anywhere in Wiltshire," he said.
"But the brutal reality is that I cannot offer you any reassurance or guarantee at this time."
He said there is so far no definitive forensic proof that the Novichok that poisoned 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess and 45-year-old Charlie Rowley was the same batch used in March against ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Basu said this can only be proved by scientists conducting detailed analysis, but that any other explanation is extremely unlikely.