An intelligence report shown by the British government to the US and other allies specifically attributes the source of the nerve agent used in the attack against former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March to a Russian military laboratory. That report led to the expulsion of over 150 Russian diplomats from 28 countries.
According to of London, the report traced the nerve agent to Russia’s Scientific & Research Institute of Radiation and Chemical Defence in Shikhany, a “closed city” that is home to a chemical testing ground. The report suggests that small amounts of the chemical compounds used in the attack and other chemical weapons classified as “novichok” nerve agents were tested at Shikhany over the past decade, likely in an effort to determine if they could be used for targeted killings. In the Skripal case, it appears the agent used was applied to a doorknob.
The details were shared with by Hamish de Bretton Gordon, former commander of Britain’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Regiment, who saw the intelligence report. “No doubt the Russians are scrubbing it down as we speak,” Gordon said.
Shikhany had previously been suggested as the source of the weapon by Gordon, based on a report submitted by Russia to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Other reports had suggested that the agent was originally produced at a dismantled facility in Uzbekistan.