On last Wednesday, the UK counter-terrorism police said that they had found two British citizens, a couple identified as Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, in Amesbury, claiming that they had been came into contact with Novichok, a chemical weapon purportedly developed under a secret Soviet program on July 1.
On Sunday, British police announced that Sturgess, a 44-year-old mother of three, died in the hospital following an unexplained exposure to the chemical agent, Presstv Reported.
This is the second such incident being occurred in southern England. Back on March 4, British authorities announced that former double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, had been hospitalized since they had been found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping center in the city of Salisbury, near Amesbury.
Days later, they also announced that both victims had been exposed to Novichok, accusing Moscow of carrying out the attack yet declining the Kremlin’s request for a sample of the chemical agent.
The Kremlin has vehemently rejected any involvement, saying the substance could have originated from the countries studying Novichok, including the UK itself, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Sweden. Moscow has already described the whole bunch of claims as a “circus show” hosted by the British authorities.
“We don’t have any information about anyone mentioning Russia in connection with this second incident or Russia being somehow associated with it,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a statement on Monday, denouncing such allegations against Moscow as “quite absurd.”
He also said that Russia regretted the death of a UK citizen as he also noted that Moscow was “deeply worried by the continuing presence of these poisonous substances on British territory.” This posed “a danger not only for the British, but for other Europeans,” Peskov added.
The other victim, Rowley, 45, still remains hospitalized in critical condition, and the death of Sturgess is now being probed as a murder.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday that she was “appalled and shocked” by the death woman’s death, and a spokesman for May announced that Britain's Interior Minister Sajid Javid would chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee on Monday.
On last Wednesday, the UK counter-terrorism police said that they were looking for possible links between the new incident and the Skripal case, which sent ties between Moscow and London to their lowest in years. London fired several Russian diplomats over claims that Moscow was behind the attack.