UK to invest $67M in chemical defense center after ex-spy poisoned

U.K's defense minister said Russia needed to "go away and shut up."

March 15, 2018, 9:34 AM

LONDON -- The U.K. is investing $67 million in a new chemical defense center at the Porton Down military research center near Salisbury less than two weeks after a nerve agent attack on an ex-Russian double agent in the city.

Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said Russia needed to “go away and shut up,” and added that the new center would demonstrate to adversaries that efforts to harm the U.K. would be “futile.”

The investment will also increase the number of chemical warfare experts working at the facility, as well as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) specialists.

Williamson said that thousands of British troops would be offered vaccinations against anthrax – a weaponized bacterial disease that was used in a number of biological terror attacks in the U.S. in 2001.

Britain is expelling 23 Russian diplomats it has identified as undercover intelligence officers, Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday. These individuals have one week to leave the country.

The U.K. is taking a range of other measures in retaliation for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, on March 4.

The government has assessed that the attack, which involved a Soviet-era “Novichok” nerve agent, was carried out by Russia.

The Kremlin has fiercely denied the accusation and accused the U.K. of carrying out a smear campaign against Russia.

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