Russian firm markets ‘Novichok’ cooking oil named after nerve gas used on spy

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A Russian business is bringing out a new line of “Novichok” cooking oil, in a cheeky reference to the Soviet-era nerve gas blamed for poisoning an ex-Russian spy living in England last month.

The Moscow Times reported Friday that entrepreneur Alexei Yakushev explained in a YouTube marketing video this week that he “regularly watched the news” when he was looking to name his new brand of sunflower oil.

Novichok oil will be marketed with the slogan, “Products for a long life,” with a logo that includes the insignia for the Soviet-era KGB intelligence service.

The near-fatal nerve gas poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the provincial town of Salisbury has plunged Russian-British relations to a new postwar low, with London accusing the Kremlin of being behind the hit.

Britain, joined by the U.S. and a host of Western governments, expelled Russian diplomats in the wake of the attack, a move reciprocated by the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin has angrily denied any role in the hit job, and questioned British evidence on the origin of the Novichok sample used in the attack. Russia’s state-controlled media outlets have relentlessly attacked the British government’s case and accused Prime Minister Theresa May of trying to whip up anti-Russian hysteria.

Mr. Skripal is said to be slowly recovering in a British hospital and his daughter has already been released.

Mr. Yakushev said in his video he had no help from Russia’s intelligence services in developing his Novichok.

“I liked this product very much and couldn’t find it anywhere in stores, so I decided to make it myself,” he said.

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