Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Russia: Chemical watchdog report doesn't back British claim

Russia: Chemical watchdog report doesn't back British claim

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday claimed he had evidence from a Swiss lab that ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a Western-developed chemical agent. The UK's own experts had previously named it as Novichok, a nerve agent developed in the old Soviet Union. In addition, the reaction of the substance with water, Mirzayanov noted, began when Novichok was smeared on the door handle in the restaurant where they had supper. The amateur, in his opinion, could not do this.

The global watchdog agency that monitors the use of chemical weapons said on Thursday that its independent investigators had confirmed Britain's assertions that the chemical used to poison former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter was a military-grade nerve agent known as Novichok.

Mr Yakovenko said: "We still don't have any information about the investigation, we don't have official replies from the British government".

Sedwill also said that Russian Federation has tested means of delivering chemical agents "including by application to door handles", pointing out that the highest concentration of the chemical found after the attack was on Skripal's front door handle.

Sedwill asserted that much in a letter that he addressed to NATO's secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, explaining Britain's conclusion that the Russian government is to blame for the military-grade nerve agent used against Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.

Moscow has strongly denied responsibility and says Britain is waging a defamation campaign against it.

"It is highly likely that Novichoks were developed to prevent detection by the West and to circumvent global chemical weapons controls", Sir Mark wrote.

Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia were poisoned
AFP Getty Images ATTACK Russia has denied any involvement in the poisoning which sparked a huge investigation

The OPCW does identify the toxic chemical by its complex formula but only in the classified report that has not been made public.

No sooner had the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced its findings in the Skripal poisoning case; Russian media launched a veritable avalanche of fakes in the matter.

"If someone was spying, why were the British services not complaining about that?"

Russian Federation denies the British claims about Novichok, saying that it completed the destruction of all its Soviet-era chemical weapons arsenals past year under global oversight.

The Times reported on Wednesday that Ms Skripal had refused consular help from the Russian Embassy.

Zakharova added there were doubts that a recent statement by Yulia Skripal was authentic.

The nerve agent attack on two people in England "demonstrates how reckless Russian Federation is prepared to be, how little the Kremlin cares for the worldwide rules-based order", one of Britain's intelligence chiefs said Thursday, in an unusually public and scathing commentary on a foreign power.

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