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Russian comment regarding statements by UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on chemical substances control

| Moscow (Russia)
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We noted a Twitter post of April 10 by UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, stating that it’s been over a year since Russia used the lethal Novichok agent in Salisbury, yet London hears nothing but denials from Russia, which allegedly objected to Novichok being added to the list of substances controlled by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). It gets more cynical as you read on: “If they love Novichok so much, other countries will rightly worry about the next Salisbury.”

Although Russia is no longer surprised by such insinuations, the Secretary should keep the following in mind.

Russia was in no way involved in the incidents with the notorious Novichok in Salisbury and Amesbury. Until the UK presents evidence and begins to cooperate with Russia within the bounds of the law, we will regard London’s fabrications as the provocations that they are, aimed at reinforcing a false narrative about the events in the public mind. One fact remains indisputable in this entire story – Russia remains in the dark about the fate of Russian citizens Sergey and Yulia Skripal who have not been heard from in the UK for a year. We call on London to begin a constructive dialogue on this matter.

In relation to Russia’s alleged “objections” to Novichok being listed by the CWC, Mr Hunt should not deceive himself or other people. Russia is not against control of chemical agents, such as the one Western countries insistently refer to as Novichok. Moreover, in May 2018, Russia submitted to the OPCW a proposal to include about 300 additional chemical compounds to CWC control lists, which it subsequently revised, submitting five groups of chemical substances for consideration, including “Novichok” identified in Salisbury and Amesbury.

Unfortunately, in February, this proposal was rejected by the Western group of countries during an ad hoc session of the OPCW Executive Council. This begs the question – is it not because these states conduct research with these agents under secret programmes? Interestingly, some of them admitted that they carry out such research, and the United States has not only synthesised but patented such agents.

It should be noted that in contrast to the well-developed Russian initiative, the “troika” comprised of the United States, Canada and the Netherlands submitted to the OPCW a different, clearly substandard from a scientific point of view, proposal. The issue is that one of the agents of the Novichok family proposed for inclusion on the CWC control lists is theoretical and does not exist in actuality. That is why Russia was forced on April 9 to oppose the inclusion of the agents proposed by the “troika” on the CWC control lists. However, bearing in mind that the Russian and Western initiatives complement each other, we suggested, after revision, considering them as a package during the next session of the supreme governing body of the OPCW, the Conference of the States Parties, as provided for by the Convention. We hope that a majority of the OPCW member states will support us.

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