'Why did you kill my girlfriend?' — UK nerve agent survivor meets Russia envoy

Charlie Rowley's partner, Dawn Sturgess, was killed after being exposed to the Novichok nerve agent, which was used to attack ex-Russia spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury on March 4, 2018.

Charlie Rowley, 45, whose partner Dawn Sturgess died last year after exposure to the nerve agent Novichok, held a 90-minute meeting on Saturday with Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko at Moscow's embassy in London. The meeting was arranged by Britain's Sunday Mirror newspaper.

Rowley and Sturgess, a 44-year-old mother of three, fell ill on June 30 last year. British authorities determined that the couple was exposed to Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the last phase of the Cold War. The same substance was used in a failed attempt to kill ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury three months earlier.

Read more: Vladimir Putin calls poisoned spy Sergei Skripal a traitor and 'scumbag'

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UK charges two Russians in Novichok poison case

Sturgess died after handling a perfume bottle that apparently held the nerve agent that was used against Skripal and Yulia. Rowley had found this bottle in Salisbury and had given it to his girlfriend.

Though Rowley survived, he spent 10 days in a coma and continues to suffer from various health problems, including loss of vision.

"I went along to ask them 'why did your country kill my girlfriend?'" Rowley told the tabloid newspaper. "But I didn't really get any answers. I just got Russian propaganda," Rowley added.

"I liked the ambassador, but I thought some of what he said trying to justify Russia not being responsible was ridiculous … The ambassador kept saying the substance wasn't the Novichok they had made because if it was, it would have killed everyone," Rowley said after the meeting.

Read more: Salisbury poisoning suspects' story: What doesn't add up?

Britain accused two officers from Russian's military intelligence agency, the GRU, of being responsible for the Novichok poisonings. The two men denied the accusations.

A Russian TV station also reported Rowley's meeting with the Russian envoy, saying the British man was eager for answers that Britain had failed to provide him.

shs/jlw (AFP, dpa)

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