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New ‘Novichok’ smear campaign timed for upcoming OPCW talks, says Foreign Ministry

"The ongoing attempts by Western nations to erode the integrity of the CWC and the unity within OPCW must be stopped," Moscow said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry Valery Sharifulin/TASS
The Russian Foreign Ministry
© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, November 2. /TASS/. Pressure is being turned up on the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Kiev in favor of having facts that benefit Kiev. Attempts were made to sanitize an interview conducted by the Foreign Policy magazine with Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the SMM Alexander Hug, Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the OSCE Dmitry Balakin told a session of the European security agency’s Permanent Council in Vienna on Thursday

The ministry reiterated that Russia has never developed, produced or stored any toxic chemical codenamed Novichok.

"It catches the eye that publications of new insinuations by Western media almost fully coincide with the release of the OPCW plan to hold additional consultations, during which a well-known group of nations would try to solve their external political talks, which fully contradict the basic provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the principles, enshrined in it," the ministry said.

The ministry added that the new wave of rumors about an alleged program to create Novichok in Russia was made public shortly after Washington again threatened to impose new sanctions on Moscow.

"We view such tactics as irresponsible and will actively resist it. The ongoing attempts by Western nations to erode the integrity of the CWC and the unity within OPCW must be stopped," Moscow said.

According to Russian diplomats, Russia honored all international commitments to destroy its entire stockpile of chemical weapons ahead of schedule, under strict international control and in compliance with the CWC.

"The aim of the ongoing information attacks is clear - to distract the public attention from the real facts of programs, ran by high-techn chemical labs of Western nations, to create at least a hundred of chemical substances related to Novichok, as well as the issuance of patents related to the use of chemical weapons of this kind and protection against them, for example in the US," the ministry said.

According to London, former GRU Colonel Sergey 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 an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4. Claiming the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London accused Russia of being involved in the incident. Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdon's accusations, saying that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia ever had any program aimed at developing such a substance. The chief executive of the UK government's Defense Science and Technology Laboratory in Port Down Gary Aitkenhead said that the laboratory has not been able to establish where the substance used to poison Sergey and Yulia Skripal was made.