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Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve toxin that had been left on the front door of their home in England, British counter-terrorism police said.

After the first known offensive use of a chemical weapon on European soil since World War Two, Britain blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the attempted assassination and the West has expelled around 130 Russian diplomats.

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Russia has denied using Novichok, a nerve agent first developed by the Soviet military, to attack Skripal, and Moscow has said it suspects the British secret services are trying to frame Russia to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

“We believe the Skripals first came into contact with the nerve agent from their front door,” said Dean Haydon, Britain’s’ senior national coordinator for counter-terrorism policing.

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