Nerve agent Novichok, which was used to poison former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia, was explored in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and at least one more western country, reports the German newspaper Der Spiegel.
The publication emphasizes that these countries could have studied Novichok only to develop an antidote for it.
In 2006, the U.S. Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) assured the Allies that his country would not develop Novichok and create a weapon based on it, the newspaper writes.
Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a park bench in the city of Salisbury in southern Britain on March 4. Later, British investigators found that they had been poisoned with the "Novichok" nerve agent that was developed in Russia.
On March 14, British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of poisoning Skripal and his daughter and announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats. The measure was supported by the US President's administration. The President of France also expressed support for Britain’s actions.
On March 17, Russia announced the expulsion of 23 British diplomats, canceled the opening of the Consulate-General of Great Britain in St. Petersburg, and announced the cessation of the British Council activities.