13:25 GMT +320 October 2018
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    A car arrives at the headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, OPCW, in The Hague, Netherlands.

    OPCW Experts Poorly Handle Evidence Collected in Syria - Russian Envoy to OPCW

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    PARIS (Sputnik) - The experts from the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria grossly violate the chain of custody procedures, Russian envoy to the the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Alexander Shulgin said Friday.

    "Of course, the mission is doing a poor job: it does not go to the scenes of incidents; it is content with remote investigation, it draws its conclusions mainly on the basis of materials from social networks, as well as data provided by various biased NGOs and the Syrian opposition,” Shulgin said in a statement obtained by Sputnik.

    READ MORE: Russian Envoy: OPCW Report Failed to Clarify Delayed Inspection in Syria's Douma

    He added that in their work, the staff of the mission "grossly violates the established sequence of actions," while ensuring the preservation of physical evidence — the chain of custody. At the same time, according to Shulgin, the data provided by the Syrian government and the Russian military "are practically not considered."

    Addressing the situation in Idlib, Russian Defense Ministry repeatedly warned that various terror groups within the rebel-held province were preparing regular provocations in order to accuse Syrian government forces of using chemical weapons against civilians.

    Accusations against Russia

    Shulgin laso stated that reports of Moscow preparing a hacker attack on the OPCW were completely groundless and provocative.

    "In our speech, we said these statements were completely groundless, we see this as a crude provocation aimed at pushing Russia into a corner in retaliation for its active position on preventing the further politicization of the OPCW, on deepening the split, and on assignment of irrelevant functions to the technical secretary," Shulgin said while aired by the Ruptly broadcaster.

    He also commented on the accusations made against specific Russians allegedly involved in the cyberattack.

    READ MORE: Berlin Says Trusts UK, Dutch Claims on Russian Cyberattacks Against OPCW

    "We gave explanations. Indeed, in April this year, technical experts came here. The purpose of the trip was to check the security of the communication systems of our embassy. This is a completely normal thing," he said.

    On October 4, the United Kingdom claimed that the Russian military's Main Intelligence Directorate was "almost certainly" responsible for a series of cyberattacks targeting political institutions, media outlets and companies across the world.

    On the same day, the Dutch Defense Ministry claimed that its intelligence services had thwarted a cyberattack against the OPCW, headquartered in The Hague, allegedly attempted by four Russian citizens holding diplomatic passports.

    UK Permanent Representative to the OPCW Peter Wilson said that London and its allies would work to update the sanctions for the use of chemical weapons, aggression in cyberspace and the violation of human rights.

    READ MORE: US Charges 7 Alleged Russian Military Intel Officers Over Hacking OPCW, WADA

    The Russian Foreign Ministry refuted the allegations, saying that the claims were a part of yet another act of propaganda and that "anti-Russia spymania campaign" negatively affected bilateral relations.

    Related:

    Berlin Says Trusts UK, Dutch Claims on Russian Cyberattacks Against OPCW
    Russian Envoy: OPCW Report Failed to Clarify Delayed Inspection in Syria's Douma
    OPCW Found No Trace of Nerve Agents in Syria's Douma - Preliminary Report
    Ex UK Envoy: OPCW Becomes 'NATO's Tool' As 'New War Against Syria' Looms Ahead
    Tags:
    chemical weapons, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Alexander Shulgin, Idlib, Syria, Russia
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