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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


"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.