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Nerve agent detected in Salisbury might have been produced outside Russia in 1990’s

March 16, 1:52 UTC+3 THE HAGUE

The Russian ambassador to the Netherlands said, that "the Russian Federation has never conducted any research and development works with an agent codenamed Novichok"

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THE HAGUE, March 16. /TASS/. The nerve agent Novichok, which the British authorities claim was used in the attack in Salisbury on the former Russian officer and British spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, could be produced outside of Russia in the 1990’s, Alexander Shulgin, the Russian ambassador to the Netherlands and envoy to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons told TASS.

"As far as we can see, this agent might originate in the countries that are conducting extensive research into these chemicals from the end of the 1990’s and through to the present, for instance, the UK, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, or Sweden," Shulgin said.

"The Russian Federation has never conducted any research and development works with an agent codenamed Novichok," he said. "As of the beginning of the 1970’s, a whole number of countries have been implementing programs to create new incapacitating chemicals. One of them was the VX developed in the US and in the Soviet Union."

"However, following President Yeltsin’s decree of 1992, the Soviet R & D projects involving nerve agents were stopped and in 2017 Russia completed the destruction of all the stockpiles of chemical weapons it had and this was confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons," Shulgin said.

"In the middle of the 1990’s, Western secret service brought to the West a number of Russian specialists, including V. Mirzayanov, S. Dubov, and G. Kazhdan who used to work for the State Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technologies, as well as the relevant documentation," he said. "Research in that sphere continued then in the UK, the Czech Republic, Sweden, and the US."

"The results these countries have reached in the field of generating new nerve agents are generalized in the West for some unclear reason under the name Novichok," Shulgin said. "NATO countries have confirmed their existence in more than 200 open sources of information."

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