Earlier in the day, the United Kingdom formally asked the OPCW to convene a conference of member states of the Chemical Weapons Convention in response to recent chemical attacks.
"The Permanent Representation of the Russian Federation to the Organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons strongly opposes the initiative of Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, the UK and the US to convene a special session of the Conference of State Parties (CSP). Taking into consideration the complexity of the situation at the OPCW we consider such an initiative as untimely and harmful to the Organization," the statement read.
Last week, 33 countries, mainly Western states and their allies, called for holding a special session of the OPCW Conference of the States Parties in June, citing the need to uphold the global ban on chemical weapons. The news came in the wake of an alleged chemical attack in Syrian Douma and poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK city of Salisbury.
"The Russian party expresses its concern about the fact that the group of countries has decided not to make any efforts to lead the Organization out of the crisis and to work within the uniting agenda using the full potential of the review process but to convene a special CSP. We are certain that under the outwardly neutral wording of the agenda calling upon the upholding the global ban against chemical weapons use stands nothing more than concrete political goals leading to the further politicization of the Organization and widening of the split among its members," the statement said.
The situation around Syria escalated in the wake of the alleged chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma near Damascus, which reportedly took place on April 7. The alleged attack prompted the United Kingdom, France, and the United States to fire over 100 missiles on what they called the Syrian government’s chemical weapons sites, since the Western states accused Damascus of using hazardous substances against civilians. The claim has been firmly denied by the Syrian government.
On March 4, Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench near a shopping mall in Salisbury. The UK authorities have blamed Russia for attempting to assassinate the Skripals with what is believed by London to be the A234 nerve agent. Russia has denied having any role in the poisoning, pointing to the lack of evidence provided by London to substantiate its accusations.