Russia has been stockpiling deadly nerve agent Novichok ‘for 10 years’

Russia has built up a stockpile of the nerve agent used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal over 10 years, according to .

Speaking on the ’s Andrew Marr Show, the foreign secretary said Moscow has breached international rules by investigating the ways that nerve agents can be used for assassination.

He said: ‘We actually have evidence within the last 10 years that Russia has not only been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination, but has also been creating and stockpiling Novichok.’

Independent inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will test the substance, but the results are not expected for at least two weeks.

Mr Johnson will travel to Brussels to brief foreign ministers from across the EU at a meeting on Monday on the attempted assassinations, before holding talks with Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg.

Labour has faced criticism for its response to the attack after leaving open the possibility that Russia was being framed.

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Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the Salisbury incident is ‘highly likely’ to have been a state execution, and Russian president Vladimir Putin ‘is responsible’ for the attack whether directly or through negligence.

He told ITV One’s Peston on Sunday: ‘He is responsible whichever way you look at it, he is responsible and all the evidence points to him.’

He added: ‘We support exactly what the prime minister said and we condemn Russia for this, condemn them. I believe this is a pattern of behaviour we have seen.’

Russia’s ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, suggested the nerve agent may have come from the Porton Down laboratory, which is about eight miles from Salisbury.

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