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OPCW has no mandate for independent investigation into Amesbury incident — Russian embassy

The embassy has commented on the information about the work of OPCW experts to provide "technical assistance" to London in the investigation into the Amesbury incident

LONDON, August 17. /TASS/. The Technical Secretariat of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has no mandate to carry out an independent investigation into the poisoning of two British nationals in the city of Amesbury, said the press secretary of the Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom on Friday, commenting on the information about the work of OPCW experts to provide "technical assistance" to London in the investigation into the Amesbury incident.

The previous practice of providing technical assistance to OPCW shows that "it is extended only to those countries that lack the professional expertise, equipment or technologies to reach the CWC goals." "Paragraph 38, Article VIII of the Convention the British side refers to does not provide the OPCW Technical Secretariat with a mandate to conduct an independent investigation, formulate its own conclusions, or ‘independently verify’ the findings of an investigation made by any other country," the Russian diplomat stressed.

The representative for the Russian diplomatic mission stated that the official London continues "to manipulate the provisions of the CWC, thus undermining the UK international standing."

The press secretary reported that the Russian embassy had learnt about the trip to the UK of an OPCW expert group from the media publications, noting that the British side, as before, "continuously refuses to launch a transparent and independent international investigation." "Despite the fact that the most recent visit of the OPCW experts to the UK relates to the Amesbury incident, which affected two British citizens, we are concerned by the attempts of the British authorities to link it to the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. We would like to remind that shortly after the Salisbury incident Russia proposed to establish cooperation under paragraph 2, Article IX of the CWC. However, the British side has blatantly ignored the requirements of this article and categorically declined any interaction," said the embassy’s press secretary.

The incidents in Amesbury and Salisbury

On June 30, Charles Rowley, aged 45, and his partner Dawn Sturgess, aged 44, were hospitalized in the city of Amesbury in critical condition. On July 8, Scotland Yard reported the death of Sturgess. Investigated launched a criminal case. Rowley later recovered and was questioned by the police.

The London police counter-terrorism department earlier stated that Sturgess and Rowley came into contact with Novichok, the same nerve agent that allegedly poisoned former Colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate Sergei Skripal, who was convicted in Russia for spying for the UK, and his daughter Yulia. London then blamed Moscow for the incident.

Moscow repeatedly refuted its involvement in the Salisbury incident.