Scientist says West had access to nerve agent

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian scientist who helped create the nerve agent that allegedly was used to poison an ex-spy in England says British accusations blaming Russia for the attack are false.

Leonid Rink says the agent dubbed Novichok in the West had a different name when it was designed as a chemical weapon in the Soviet Union.

Rink told Russia’s state RIA Novosti news agency Tuesday that Britain and other western nations easily could have synthesized the nerve agent after chemical expert Vil Mirzayanov emigrated to the United States and revealed the formula.

Echoing Russian government statements, Rink says it wouldn’t make sense for Moscow to poison Sergei Skripal, a military intelligence officer who spied for Britain, because he was a used asset “drained” by both Russia and Britain.

He claims Britain’s use of the name Novichok for the nerve agent is intended to convince the public that Russia is to blame.