All news

London tries to protect its stance by claims Novichok made in Saratov Region — Lavrov

According to Russia's top diplomat, London’s stance will continue to be hopeless until Britain agrees to hold consultations frankly and honestly

MINSK, April 6. /TASS/. Statements on the production of the Novichok nerve agent allegedly used for poisoning former Russian military intelligence Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, the UK, are indicative of London’s hectic attempts to find a confirmation of its stance, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.

"If they learned about some enterprise in the Saratov Region last month or just yesterday, that shows once again that they are desperately trying every day to find some new confirmation of their totally hopeless stance," he said.

According to Lavrov, London’s stance will continue to be hopeless until "Britain agrees to hold consultations frankly, honestly, in accordance with the procedures under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), trying to establish the truth, putting all its cards on the table instead of keeping them in one’s pocket, the way it was with the Litvinenko case, the Perepelichny case and the Berezovsky case."

Russia’s top diplomat added that Moscow is aware of the real worth of London’s statements, including from the experience of the aforementioned cases. "We will not trust them. We want to verify [everything], but they do not let us do so," he concluded.

Salisbury incident

On March 4, former Russian military intelligence Colonel Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and was later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury, the UK. Police said they had allegedly been exposed to a nerve agent.

London immediately accused Russia of being involved, but failed to produce any evidence. British Prime Minister Theresa May rushed to blame Russia for "unlawful use of force" against her country. She identified the alleged substance used in the attack as the so-called Novichok nerve agent, allegedly developed in the former Soviet Union. Subsequently, the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow. Russia has flatly rejected these allegations pointing out that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia had any programs to develop that substance.

The Times daily reported on April 6 that, according to the British intelligence, the nerve agent had been made in the city of Shikhany, in the Saratov Region. According to the newspaper, British intelligence officers informed London’s allies about that at a special intelligence briefing. The briefing was allegedly aimed at persuading global leaders that Moscow was behind the poisoning and that the Novichok chemical agent was produced at Shiknany’s chemical facility in southwestern Russia.