Published: Sun, March 18, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Britain Accuses Russia Of Stockpiling Novichok Nerve Agent

The Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament on Thursday afternoon heard an update by Britain on the March 4 incident in Salisbury in which Britain said a military-grade nerve agent Novichok developed by Russian Federation had been used.

Moscow has repeatedly requested access to samples of the nerve agent used to poison Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, but has not been granted any, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

He said a number of scientists who claim to be responsible for creating some nerve agents "have been whisked out of Russian Federation and are now residing in the United Kingdom" but no stockpiles of chemical weapons had left the country after the collapse of the Soviet Union. She said that in post-Soviet times it is countries such as the UK, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Sweden, and possibly the USA, that studied the substance with keen interest and could have been the origin for the toxin used in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. He said experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will arrive in the United Kingdom tomorrow to test nerve agent samples collected from Salisbury.

Tests to independently verify the British findings are expected to take at least two weeks, Britain's Foreign Office said.

Asked whether he was saying that Porton Down was responsible, Chizhov replied: "I don't know".

"We object to these claims about the origin of (the toxin), which are not substantiated", Stropnicky said on his official Twitter feed.

"The investigation was still continuing, and yet the responsibilities had already been established", noted a Russian representative, stressing that it was Russia which was being accused.

Chemist Vil Mirzayanov, who revealed the existence of Novichok in the 1990s and later defected to the United States, said he was convinced Russian Federation created the substance used in the attack.

Johnson said he will brief European Union foreign ministers on the case Monday before meeting Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Russia's ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, told RT on Friday that the UK is using the Skripal case to divert attention from Brexit issues.

Mr Stoltenberg said he expected the response to Russian Federation to be reassessed at July's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, telling German media the Salisbury attack followed a pattern of Russian Federation "becoming more unpredictable and more aggressive".

Britain, with support of its allies, has blamed Russian Federation for the incident.

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