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Russia refers to OPCW list of questions concerning framed-up Skripal case - ministry

The list, in particular, has such questions as what kind of data and materials were provided by the UK
Russian Foreign Ministry Mikhail Japaridze/TASS
Russian Foreign Ministry
© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, April 1. /TASS/. Russia has referred to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) a list of 13 questions concerning the so-called Skripal case framed-up against Russia, the Russian foreign ministry said on Sunday.

"On April 1, Russia’s permanent mission to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons delivered to the organization’s technical secretariat a list of questions concerning the Skripal case fabricated against Russia," the ministry said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday that Russia would convene an extraordinary session of the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) over the case of the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. After that, the OPCW press service told TASS the Executive Council would meet on April 4.

Questions on London’s data

The list, in particular, has such questions as what kind of data and materials were provided by the United Kingdom and whether the organization plans to share the British side’s information with Russia.

The Russian side also wants to know what kind of assistance from the OPCW technical secretariat was asked by London, whether it requests to verify the very fact of the use of a nerve agent or to conform that it was a Novichok-class substance.

Apart from that, Russia asks the OPCW who led its expert team that visited the United Kingdom, how long they worked in the UK and whom they contacted with.

Questions about samples

The Russian foreign ministry asks to explain the procedure of sample collecting and whether the OPCW’s basic probe principle, the so-called chain of custody, was observed.

"Which certified laboratories will analyze the samples collected by the OPCW technical secretariat during the visit of its experts to the United Kingdom," the ministry asks.

Disclosure of materials to the EU and France’s participation

The Russian side wants to know whether the OPCW technical secretariat gave its consent to the disclosure of the British side’s investigation data to the European Union countries and whether France notified it about its joining the technical assistance requested by the United Kingdom.

"Did France share materials of its own investigation (if any) with the OPCW technical secretariat and can it share the materials of the French investigation (if any) with Russia? If not, then why," the ministry said.

Skripal case

On March 4, former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been earlier sentenced in Russia for spying for the UK, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury, UK. Police said they had been exposed to a nerve agent.

Later, London claimed that the toxin of Novichok-class had been allegedly developed in Russia. With that, the UK rushed to accuse Russia of being involved, while failing to produce any evidence. Moscow refuted the accusations that it had participated in the incident and points out that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia have ever done research into that toxic chemical.

Without providing any proof, London expelled 23 Russian diplomats and suspended all planned high-level bilateral contacts. In response, Moscow expelled the equal number of UK diplomats. In addition, Britain’s consulate in St. Petersburg was ordered to be closed and the British Council’s operations in Russia were terminated.