04:35 GMT +323 May 2018
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    Czech Republic's President Milos Zeman

    Czech Republic Used to Produce A230 Nerve Agent, President Says

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    Czech Republic president Miloš Zeman said in an interview that his country had produced in small quantities and then destroyed an A230 nerve agent, which the Czech military intelligence service called "Novichok".

    Czech Republic had produced and tested an A230 nerve agent which, according to the Czech military intelligence, graded as the so-called "Novichok", the republic's president Miloš Zeman said in an interview to a TV Barrandov broadcaster.

    In March, former Russian intelligence colonel Sergey Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious on a bench near a shopping mall in the UK city of Salisbury. The incident triggered a diplomatic row. The UK authorities were quick to blame Russia for attempting to assassinate the Skripals with the A234 nerve agent, one of the group of compounds referred to as "Novichok". Moscow refuted all allegations, pointing at the complete lack of evidence.

    Zeman said that an A230 nerve agent was produced in small quantities and tested by the Czech defense research institute in Brno in November 2017, quoting the reports by the domestic intelligence service and military intelligence. The president also said that the substance was destroyed shortly after.

    Zeman noted that the domestic intelligence service, Security Information Service (BIS) does not call A230 nerve agent "Novichok" and says that the name belongs to A234; while the military intelligence service reported that A230 was "Novichok".

    "I received also a document from the military intelligence, which reads that A230 substance is 'Novichok'. Since the military intelligence is closer to that topic than the domestic intelligence, I have drawn such conclusion: we have produced and tested 'Novichok' in a small quantity and then destroyed it. We know where and know when. It would be hypocritical to pretend that nothing like that ever happened," Zeman told the broadcaster.

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    Tags:
    Novichok, Sergey Skripal, Milos Zeman, Czech Republic
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