Department of State slapped additional sanctions on North Korea in response to what was determined to be a VX attack.
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Novichok agents are a third generation of nerve agents, developed in the s and s by the Soviet Union. They can take the form of a powder rather than a gas or liquid.
The idea behind the agents, Schmidt said, was to avoid detection by NATO forces, potentially rendering NATO protective clothing vulnerable, and to be handled relatively safely as binary agents. Binary chemical weapons can be transported as separate, safer chemical precursors. When mixed together, the compounds become incredibly toxic.
On March 11, the BBC reported that traces of a nerve agent had been found at the restaurant where the former spy and his daughter had eaten. Novichok agents can persist far longer than agents like sarin, Schmidt said, which makes them a good candidate for the poisoning.
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It seems unlikely the nerve agent itself was produced in the U. To produce a Novichok agent below the radar of MI5, he said, would be "quite an achievement, to say the least.
It is probably more likely, Schmidt said, that the chemical weapon was brought into the country at some point. How the nerve agent actually made its way to Salisbury remains unknown. Whether it was produced and administered by Russia, another state, or even non-state actors, is yet to be revealed.
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