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U.K. demands Russia explanation after two critically poisoned by same nerve agent used in Sergei Skripal attack by Francis Whittaker And Jon Schuppe

LONDON — Tests on two Britons found unconscious in their home determined that they were poisoned by the same nerve agent used against a former Russian spy and his daughter earlier this year, British police said Wednesday.
The discovery triggered new security precautions in the area of Amesbury, England, where the couple were sickened.
The town is seven miles from Salisbury, where former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with themilitary-grade nerve agent Novichok in March. The British government blamed Russia for the attack. Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement.
Friends and investigators identified the victims as Dawn Sturgess, 44, and Charlie Rowley, 45, who remained in critical condition early Thursday.
Counterterrorism police have taken over the investigation, and authorities acknowledged that the test results would fuel speculation about whether the two poisoning incidents were linked.
"However, I must say that we are not in a position to say whether the nerve agent was from the same batch that the Skripals were exposed to," Neil Basu, assistant commissioner of specialist operations for London Metropolitan Police, said in a statement. "The possibility that these two investigations might be linked is clearly a line of inquiry for us."
Home Secretary Sajid Javid — Britain's interior minister — said in an address to parliament on Thursday that the incident would "obviously... invoke memories of the reckless murder attempts of Sergei and Yulia Skripal earlier this year."

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