16:18 GMT15 January 2021
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    Earlier, Russia denied claims of having stockpiles of the nerve agent Novichok when allegations were flying around that opposition figure Alexey Navalny had been poisoned. All stocks of Novichok were eliminated in compliance with the OPCW protocols, according to the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Agency, Sergey Naryshkin.

    The US has been working on chemical substances classed as Novichok for political reasons since the Eighties, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said during her weekly briefing on Friday. 

    "I would like to remind you that the US is the only signatory of the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons which has not yet fully eliminated the chemical arsenal it made known ... The US does not rush to get rid of this type of weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, since the 1980s, the US has been conducting research, development and engineering on chemical neuroparalytic agents. You may be surprised, but for political reasons they are classified in the West as 'Novichok', which is a Russian word. The US authorities have registered over 140 patents related to the use of this type of chemical weapons," Zakharova said at a briefing, commenting on a recent address by US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Ford.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman also expressed the belief that the Western nations had undermined the reputation of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons with "continuing scandals around the falsified reports about chemical provocations in Syria."

    On the US Sanctions

    She also said that Washington's sanctions against Russia are becoming more and more frequent. 

    "Washington sanction wheel is spinning ever so fast when it comes to anti-Russian restrictions. It hasn't been a week since the last time, and now, three more commercial companies working in Russia are facing sanctions," Zakharova told a briefing.

    The US administration "did not bother to provide any facts, evidence or justification of its actions," Zakharova added.

    The spokeswoman pointed out that one of the entities targeted by the latest sanctions had been engaged in the historic Apollo–Soyuz mission, which made the landmark US-Soviet handshake in space possible. 

    Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Novichok, chemical agents, Maria Zakharova, sanctions, US, Russia
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