Russian Federation rejects Skripal attack findings report by chemical weapons watchdog

Charlene Craig
April 14, 2018

He said cyber specialists from the GRU - Russian military intelligence - targeted Yulia's email accounts as far back as 2013. The central element of Britain's case against Russian Federation is the unusual nerve agent used in the attack, which was developed in Soviet laboratories during the last years of the Soviet Union.

It says that Russian Federation continued to produce the agents after the breakup of the Soviet Union, but did not declare the work to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. He reiterated Russia's dismay over the British government's refusal to allow Russian diplomats access to Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who was also poisoned, saying that from Moscow's point of view, the two Russian nationals appear to have been abducted by the British authorities.

Russian Federation strongly denies the UK's claims about Novichok, saying it destroyed its entire Soviet-era chemical weapons arsenal past year under global oversight.

"It is highly likely that Novichoks were developed to prevent detection by the West and to circumvent worldwide weapons controls".

In the letter, Sedwill said the Soviet Union developed fourth generation nerve agents known as Novichoks in the 1980s at the State Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology near Volgograd under the codeword FOLIANT.

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Sir Mark said Russian Federation had a "proven record of conducting state-sponsored assassination" and that it was "highly likely" some defectors may be regarded as "legitimate targets".

"The British Government still hasn't produced any evidence in support of its position that would confirm their official version", he told a news conference at the Russian embassy in London.

"This programme subsequently included investigation of ways of delivering nerve agents, including by application to door handles".

It was "highly likely", he said, that some defectors - like Mr Skripal, a former GRU officer who was convicted of treason in 2006 and exchanged in a spy swap in 2010 - were regarded as "legitimate targets".

Sir Mark said: "There is no plausible alternative explanation", adding that Russian Federation had continued to produce and stockpile small quantities of Novichok within the last decade. Cyberspecialists from Russia's Foreign Intelligence Services hacked Ms. Skripal's email in 2013, the letter says.

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In his letter, Sir Mark set out why the United Kingdom believes that only Russian Federation has the "technical means, operational experience and the motive" to carry out such an attack - including some declassified intelligence material.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that a new report on the poisoning of a former spy does nothing to support Britain's contention that Russian Federation was behind the attack.

Her father remains hospitalized but is no longer in critical condition.

"I want to underline: the OPCW only has confirmed the composition of the chemical agent", he said.

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