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Process of banning poisonous agents proceeding slowly — Russian diplomat

"The West is unwilling to work and is seeking to dodge cooperation," Russia’s Permanent Representative to OPCW Alexander Shulgin said

THE HAGUE, October 12. /TASS/. The process of supplementing the Annex of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is proceeding slowly because of the West’s position, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and Ambassador to the Netherlands Alexander Shulgin told TASS.

"They have no evidence [of Russia’s involvement in the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Britain’s Salisbury - TASS] and they cannot have any," he said. "The Americans imposed sanctions on Russia over the so-called Skripal poisoning case and demand we open access for some inspectors but they ignore the fact that we receive OPCW inspections regularly."

Even after Russia destroyed all of its chemical arsenals it continues cooperation with the OPCW, he stressed. "They’d better disclose their plans instead. You must remember that Britain’s former Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson actually confirmed in one of his interviews that the laboratory in Porton Down was working with Novichok," he went on to say. "I wish they tell us why Novichok is circulating across Great Britain."

"Due to the unscrupulousness of the Western countries the work [on amending the Convention’s Annex - TASS] is proceeding very slowly," Shulgin noted. "But we will continue efforts. The West is unwilling to work and is seeking to dodge cooperation."

The Netherlands, Canada and the United States came out with an initiative to prohibit the substance that was used in Salisbury. According to Russian Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Georgy Kalamanov, who led the Russian delegation to the 89th session of the OPCW Executive Council, back in May Russia submitted to the OPCW Secretariat a 300-page document listing about 1,000 new compounds that could be added to the Convention’s Annex.

If the British version of the affair is to be believed former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia, 33, suffered the effects of a nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London rushed to accuse Russia of being involved in the incident. Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia ever had any program aimed at developing such an agent.

The United Kingdom requested technical assistance from the OPCW to identify the agent that had been used in Salisbury. In their report issued on April 12, OPCW experts noted that it was a high purity substance but said nothing about its origin.