Czech Defense Minister Karla Slechtova dismissed Bohuslav Safar, the head of a research institute in the city of Brno, where the A230 toxic substance had been allegedly produced, the ministry said in a statement.
The reason why Safar was removed from office is unknown, but he remains an employee of the institute, the statement added. Josef Hrncirik, deputy director, will take on the role of acting head of the research institute, until the outcome of the competition to fill the vacancy is announced.
Safar responded by saying in March that poisonous substances were produced in the Czech Republic solely for laboratory purposes and in very small amounts. Similarly, Czech President Milos Zeman confirmed that a small amount of the A230 toxin had been produced at the research institute and destroyed afterwards. The Czech president added that the country's military intelligence and domestic intelligence, BIS, differed on which substance could be classified as Novichok. The military intelligence said it was А230, while BIS argued it was А234.
Meanwhile, the fact that the toxin was produced in the Czech Republic was dismissed by the country's intelligence as well as Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who said that the Novichok-class nerve agent had never been produced or stored in the country, whereas the president's statement had been "misunderstood."
On March 4, 66-year-old former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter Julia were allegedly poisoned by a toxic nerve agent. London accused Moscow of being behind the incident and producing the toxic substance, claims which Russia has categorically rejected.