The surviving victim of what authorities in the United Kingdom say was a Russian poisoning attack confronted Russia’s ambassador to the U.K. on Friday, and asked him, “Did you kill my girlfriend?” according to a report in Britain’s Sunday Mirror. The newspaper arranged the meeting between survivor Charlie Rowley and Alexander Yakovenko, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “man in London.”
The now-46-year-old Rowley and his girlfriend Dawn Sturgess, 44, were exposed to the Russian-made nerve agent Novichok in Amesbury, Wiltshire, England, on June 30 of last year, according to a report by the BBC. The site where the couple was exposed to the deadly poison was just eight miles from the scene in Salisbury, England, where former Russian spy Sergei Skirpal and his daughter were attacked and poisoned with Novichok on March 4, 2018.
Skirpal had turned against Putin and was cooperating with Britain’s intelligence services at the time of the attack. Both Skirpal and his daughter survived. Sturgess, however, died as a result of the poisoning, as The Inquisitr reported. Two Russian men claiming to be “tourists,” but who were actually operatives of Russia’s military intelligence agency known as the GRU, have been named as suspects in the Novichok attack on Skirpal and his daughter.
Dawn Sturgess inquest: Why Novichok victim's family face new wait for answers – Somerset Live – https://t.co/DxUK5q2Oce
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British authorities believe that Rowley and Sturgess were poisoned by accident when they came into contact with Novichok residue left over from the attack on the Skirpals, according to the BBC. The leftover Novichok was likely contained in a perfume bottle used by the suspects in the Skirpal attack.
In the meeting arranged by The Mirror at the lavish Russian embassy in London, Rowley said that he “didn’t really get any answers” from Yakovenko, according to a BBC report, and though the ambassador appeared “genuinely concerned,” his answers to Rowley’s questions consisted only of “propaganda,” the surviving Novichok victim said.
The ambassador denied that Russia was involved in the poisoning, or that the poison used was a Russian-made nerve agent at all. If it had been, Rowley would be dead, according to the Mirror report.
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“The ambassador kept saying the substance definitely wasn’t the Novichok they had made because if it was it would have killed everyone,” Rowley told the paper. “I said, ‘Well, my girlfriend did die, it’s only because I washed it off that I’m still here’. He didn’t know what to say to that.”
But according to Rowley, Yakovenko claimed that America produced Novichok, and therefore the poison used in the attack probably came from the United States. But the nerve agent was developed in the Soviet Union in the 1970s, according to Scientific American, and is not known to be produced in the United States.