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Russia receives OPCW replies to questions over Salisbury incident

The reply will be studied at the expert level, Russia’s permanent representative at the OPCW said

THE HAGUE, May 8. /TASS/. Russia’s permanent mission has received answers from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to its questions following the publication of the OPCW report concerning the incident in Britain’s Salisbury, Russia’s permanent representative at the OPCW, Alexander Shulgin, told TASS.

He recalled that the OPCW had provided technical assistance to Britain and published a report.

"We had certain questions about that report. In particular, we had the impression that the organization’s experts were looking only for the substance mentioned by the British. It was unclear where the BZ [chemical agent] came from, why should a certified laboratory had to be checked and a control sample sent there," Shulgin said. "We asked all these questions and just recently they sent us a reply. It is a purely technical reply that will have to be studied at the expert level."

According to Russia’s sources "the OPCW plays no role in investigating the Salisbury affair at the moment," he added.

The OPCW on April 12 published a report on the results of its findings. The report was distributed only among the OPCW member-states, while the public at large was offered a brief summary one and a half pages long. The report confirmed the very instance a toxic chemical used against 66-year-old former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, but at the same time failed to mention the agent’s name and origin.

Skripal, convicted in Russia of spying for Britain and his 33-year-old daughter on March 4 reportedly suffered from the effects of a nerve agent, if the British version of the affair is to be believed. London later claimed that the agent had been developed in Russia and for that reason accused Moscow of complicity. Russia strongly dismissed all speculations on that score.