10:36 GMT19 June 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia's Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday that no research and development work on Novichok class of nerve agents had taken place in the Russian Federation.

    "Let me say a few words about the toxic agents that allegedly appear in this story. After chemical weapons were destroyed in Russia [which was confirmed by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in 2017], its development continued in the United Kingdom itself as well as in the Czech Republic and Sweden. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the laboratories for the production of above-mentioned class toxic agents remained in a number of other countries, including in the Baltic states," Lukashevich noted.

    The Russian envoy to the OSCE also pointed at the fact that the Porton Down laboratory, which is one of major chemical research facilities of the UK government, was located close to Salisbury, where the incident took place.

    "And if London remains so confident that [Skripal and his daughter were poisoned] by Novichok nerve agent, it means that it has its formula and samples or maybe even its production. Meanwhile, Vil Mirzayanov, who developed the agent, has long been living in the United States, where he went with the technical documentation on the chemical agent. Meantime, in Russia no research and development works provisionally called Novichok have ever been carried out," the diplomat underlined.

    On March 5, UK police said that a man and a woman, later identified as Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, were found unconscious on a bench at a shopping center in Salisbury, adding that both people were "in a critical condition in intensive care" and being treated for suspected exposure to an unknown substance.

    On Monday, the UK prime minister said that Russia was "highly likely" responsible for the Salisbury incident. According to Theresa May, they were poisoned with a Novichok class military-grade nerve agent, which was developed by Russia.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry refuted all the allegations and delivered a note, requesting a joint investigation into the case, to the UK Foreign Office. The proposal was ignored by the UK leadership, while UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced a package of anti-Russian measures, including the expulsion of the Russian diplomats from the country and suspension of bilateral contacts between London and Moscow.


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    accusations, chemical weapons, research, Novichok, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Sergei Skripal, Russia, United Kingdom
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