UK to build $60M chemical weapons center after 'shocking and reckless' spy poisoning: report

Just days after the poisoning of a Russian double agent and his daughter in Salisbury with a military-grade nerve agent, the United Kingdom on Thursday will reportedly announce plans to construct a nearly $70 million chemical weapons defense center.

In a planned speech on Thursday, Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson will emphasize that "the chemical threat doesn't just come from Russia but from others," the BBC reported.

The new facility, which is set to be sited at the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory in Wiltshire, will "ensure we maintain our cutting edge in chemical analysis and defense," Williamson will say.

Investigators in protective suits work at the scene in the Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, England, Tuesday, March 13, 2018. The use of Russian-developed nerve agent Novichok to poison ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter makes it "highly likely" that Russia was involved, British Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday. Novichok refers to a class of nerve agents developed in the Soviet Union near the end of the Cold War.(Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)

Soldiers in protective gear investigate the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.  (AP)

That lab helped identify the nerve agent used in the attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, which Williamson will reportedly call "shocking and reckless" in his speech.

"We know the chemical threat doesn't just come from Russia but from others."

- British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson

Williamson is also expected to announce that thousands of British troops will receive an anthrax vaccine. 

NORTH KOREA EXPERIMENTING WITH ANTHRAX ON ICBMS

Traces of anthrax antibodies were discovered in the system of a North Korean soldier who had defected to South Korea at some point in 2017, a local South Korean television station reported.

Soldiers wearing protective clothing  lift a tow truck in Hyde Road, Gillingham, Dorset, England as the investigation into the suspected nerve agent attack on Russian double agent Sergei Skripal continues Wednesday March 14, 2018.  The army cordoned off a road in Dorset on Wednesday as the investigated the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Authorities have cordoned off several sites in and near Salisbury, 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of London as part of their probe.  (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)

A tow truck is hauled away during the investigation of what British officials call a 'shocking' and 'reckless' poisoning on their soil.  (AP )

And there have been reports North Korea is beginning tests on mounting anthrax onto intercontinental ballistic missiles that would strike the U.S.

The announcement comes as relations between Britain and Russia plunged this week to a chilly level not seen since the Cold War.

Prime Minister Theresa May this week expelled 23 diplomats, severed high-level contacts and vowed both open and covert action against Kremlin meddling after the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during the scheduled Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London, Wednesday March 14, 2018.   May is widely expected to announce a range of economic and diplomatic measures against Russia, in response to the nerve-agent poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. (PA via AP)

British Prime Minister Theresa May expelled Russian diplomats and promised to retaliate for the poisoning.  (AP)

May told the House of Commons that 23 Russians diplomats who have been identified as undeclared intelligence officers have a week to leave Britain.

RUSSIA PROMISES RETALIATION FOR EXPULSION OF DIPLOMATS

"This will be the single biggest expulsion for over 30 years," May said, adding that it would "fundamentally degrade Russian intelligence capability in the U.K. for years to come."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Gregg Re is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @gregg_re.