Police officer in a protective mask and suit in Salisbury, England. Photo: Jack Taylor / Getty Images

In an interview with Sky News, Gary Aitkenhead, the chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down, said his laboratory could not definitively say Russia had manufactured the nerve agent used to poison a former Russian spy in the town of Salisbury, England.

Why it matters: Russia will seize on the comments to argue the U.K. has accused the Kremlin without evidence. But Aitkenhead said it is not the scientists’ job to “prove” where the nerve agent was made. "We provided the scientific information to the government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions that they’ve come to," he said.

  • The U.K. Foreign Office quickly followed up with a statement saying the Porton Down assessment was "only part of the intelligence picture."

What evidence the scientists did find: “We were able to identify it as Novichok, to identify that it was military-grade nerve agent,” Aitkenhead said.

  • As the Foreign Office statement notes, Russia "has produced and stockpiled" Novichok as part of its work to find "ways of delivering nerve agents probably for assassination." Novichok was developed in the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s.

Go deeper: Russian nerve agent from Skripal attack a deadly game-changer.

Go deeper

Supreme Court rejects GOP push to cut absentee ballot deadline in N.C.

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an attempt by conservatives to shorten North Carolina's deadline for mail-in ballots from nine to three days.

The big picture: This is the latest of a series of decisions over mail-in ballot deadlines in various states.

Hurricane Zeta makes landfall on Louisiana coast as Category 2 storm

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta made landfall along the southeastern coast of Louisiana as a Category 2 storm on Wednesday, bringing with it "life-threatening storm surge and strong winds," per the National Hurricane Center.

What's happening: The hurricane was producing maximum sustained winds of nearly 110 mph and stronger gusts.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests, Trump's testing czar saysMask mandates help control rise in hospitalizations Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Surge is sinking consumer confidence Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" coronavirus wave France imposes lockdown as Macron warns of overwhelming second COVID wave Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed as COVID-19 surges MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.