Moscow: A Cold War-era scientist acknowledged on Tuesday he had helped create the nerve agent that Britain says was used to poison an ex-spy and his daughter, contradicting Moscow's insistence that neither Russia nor the Soviet Union ever had such a programme.
However, Professor Leonid Rink told the RIA news agency that the attack did not look like Moscow's work because Sergei and Yulia Skripal had not died immediately.
The Skripals remained alive but in critical condition more than three weeks after they were found unconscious in the English cathedral town of Salisbury. A policeman who helped them is also in hospital in a serious condition.
Rink said he worked under the Soviet Union at a chemical weapons facility where the Novichok military-grade nerve agent was developed. Asked if he was one of Novichok's creators, he told RIA: "Yes. It was the basis for my doctoral dissertation."
Moscow has denied any involvement in the Skripals' case or that the Soviet Union or its successor state Russia developed Novichok at all.
Echoing a theory floated in Russian state media, Rink said the British could have been behind the attack.
© Thomson Reuters 2018