Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Watchdog backs United Kingdom on toxic nerve agent

The nerve agent used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal was delivered in a liquid form More The nerve agent used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal was delivered in a liquid form More
Anna Jefferson | 15 April, 2018, 20:29

Britain named it as Novichok, a group of powerful and deadly chemical compounds reportedly developed by the Soviet government in the 1970s and 1980s. The amateur, in his opinion, could not do this.

Skripal, 66, a former colonel in Russia's military intelligence who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain's MI6 foreign spy service, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on a bench in the cathedral city of Salisbury on March 4.

The OPCW report comes as Yulia turned down help from the Russian embassy in a statement issued through Scotland Yard yesterday to say that she was "safe" and trying to come to terms with her new life.

In a letter to Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Sir Mark also said that in the 2000s the Russians had begun a programme to train personnel from "special units" in the use of chemical warfare agents.

Police investigating the Salisbury poisoning said the highest concentration of the Novichok nerve agent had been found on Sergei Skripal's front door. "Within the last decade, Russian Federation has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichoks under the same programme", he said. And there was no change Thursday in the steadfast refusal that Russian Federation was involved.

Asked if Russian Federation would open up the Shikhany institute for an OPCW inspection, Yakovenko said Russian Federation didn't produce or stock Novichok "so why should we invite [inspectors] because our official position is like that?" "It is highly likely that Novichoks were developed to prevent detection by the West and to circumvent global chemical weapons controls", he said.

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Cyber specialists from the GRU - Moscow's Main Intelligence Directorate - targeted email accounts belonging to Miss Skripal as long ago as 2013, and possibly even before that, according to newly-declassified British intelligence.

Repeated accusations: Russian Federation has repeatedly thrown out accusations of conspiracy in the poisoning of the Skripals. "There remains no alternative explanation about who was responsible - only Russian Federation has the means, motive and record", he said.

The OPCW did not name the chemical, saying that information and its structure would be in a full classified report available to signatory states of the organisation.

"In 2017, we eliminated all chemical weapons", Yakovenko said.

Mr Johnson said the United Kingdom had invited the OPCW to test the samples "to ensure strict adherence to worldwide chemical weapons protocols". "We didn't produce Novichok, we didn't store this Novichok, so-called under the Western classification", he said. A police officer, Detective Sgt. Nick Bailey, who responded to the scene of the assault, was also hospitalized but has since been discharged.

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