14 December 2018
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285 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     277 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



Statement by the Permanent Representative of Russia to the OPCW A.Shulgin


Ladies and gentlemen,

Today we invited you here to present the Russian position in relation to the ongoing insinuations by the UK about the chemical weapons’ incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury.

On 4 September 2018 the OPCW Technical Secretariat issued a press release and a summary of the report on the results of the so-called technical assistance provided to the British side in connection with the incident in Amesbury. On the next day a confidential and full version of this report was made available to the States Parties. As declared, the results of the analysis confirmed that it was a nerve agent and that the same agent – that’s its chemical composition - corresponds to the substance that had appeared in the so-called "Scripal’s Case". Such a technical conclusion did not prevent the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jeremy Hunt from stating on the same day that, quote: “Report by the OPCW confirms the UK’s findings – the nerve agent used in Amesbury poisoning was Novichok. Russian recklessness is appalling and irresponsible…”

Speaking on 5 September 2018 in the Parliament of the UK, the Prime Minister Theresa May presented the results of a national investigation that allegedly point to the involvement of the GRU agents in Salisbury and Amesbury incidents. Once again, absurd arguments were voiced about Russia's involvement: allegedly Russia alone has the means to produce the Novichok; it covers up the stockpiles of this chemical; it’s only Russia that has a motive for neutralizing the former spy Sergei Skripal. The statement is finalized with a thoughtful conclusion that this act is sanctioned at a high political level, that this is supposedly one of the examples of Russia's aggressive activity on the world stage in a series of other events, in particular the annexation of the Crimea and the invasion of the Donbas.

I will begin with a refutation of all these absurd arguments. There has been a lot of information in the open sources indicating that many western countries – above all the United States and the United Kingdom – have been working with nerve agents of a new generation. And it was there – in the mentioned countries - where the general term “Novichok” for all these chemicals was put into circulation. The Russian side has submitted a voluminous 300-page compilation of materials to the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board, which we also requested to circulate as our national document among all the States Parties to the Convention. There are several of well-known facts: back in 1998, the Americans included a mass spectrum of a substance, which they call "Novichok" in the national database – CAS. At the 57th Meeting of the OPCW Executive Council we also showed documents confirming that the US patented the CW’s munitions, which were supposed to be filled with a nerve agent of the "Novichok" class.

Here is a request from the US patent agency: the Americans wanted this invention of Mr. Rubin to be also registered in the Russian patent bodies.

The President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman has also confirmed that in the Czech laboratory in Brno in 2017 the research was conducted with a new generation of nerve agents, referred to in the West as the "Novichok".

In an interview with “Deutsche Welle”, the former UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson admitted that there was the Novichok agent in the British laboratory of Porton Down.

And a very recent example: the journalists of the well-known Dutch newspaper “NRC Handelsblat” have ascertained that the substances of the "Novichok" family were not a secret, they were synthesized in many places. In particular, such works were conducted at the Dutch research center called “TNO, Defence, Security and Safety in Rijswijk. So this is not a tenable argument that there are only the Soviet Union and Russia where this substance could have originated from.

Another message of the British - they say, only the Russians had a motive to poison the former spy Scripal. Even the zealous Western critics of the President Vladimir Putin note that he is a soberly thinking politician. Could it be that on the eve of the World Cup and especially shortly before the presidential elections the Russian authorities would have done something like this, given the huge political costs? The answer is obvious: Russia did not need it.

Our opponents claim that the motive for the crime is the elimination of spies by Russia abroad. They say, this is a state sponsored policy to eradicate defectors. This was allegedly claimed by President Vladimir Putin. Let someone give us at least one statement like this. This is an outright lie.

We have a lot of questions concerning the mysterious deaths of Russian citizens living in the UK. This includes, in particular, the poisoning of former FSB officer Mr.A.Litvinenko, the death of Russian businessmen Mr.B.Patarkatsishvili and Mr.A.Perepilichny, the mysterious "suicide" of Mr.B.Berezovsky and the strangulation of his business partner Mr.N.Glushkov. All these people died tragically, for some reason, exactly on the British soil under very unclear circumstances. Even at that time, there were still attempts to directly or indirectly blame it on Russia. As in the “Scripals case” these accusations were based on speculations and newspaper hoax. The investigation of all these cases was conducted in an extremely non-transparent way. It did not allow to establish what really happened.

Meanwhile, this summer the daughter of Boris Berezovsky – Elizaveta made an important statement: she does not believe in the official British version of the suicide of her father. She is convinced that he was killed. She hired the well-known German criminalist Berdt Brinkmann who also disproved the findings of the British police. Shortly before his death, Mr.B.Berezovsky wrote a letter to Mr.Putin. He asked the President for pardon and expressed the willingness to return to Russia. Perhaps, someone opposed his return to his homeland?

As for the Salisbury and Amesbury incidents, the UK authorities provided photographs of two people, as they say – GRU agents. They allegedly came to Salisbury and put poisonous gelatinous substance on the handle of the Scripals’ front door. After that – for some reason – they left it in a charity bin where it was found by Ms. Dawn Sturgess. The woman received a deadly poisoning dose. This British scenario has plenty of inconsistencies and gaps.

First, the so-called GRU super-agents knowing that on almost every street corner you can find CCTV cameras deliberately exposed themselves for video-footage.

There are some other flaws in the British position. In particular:

- no data was provided either to us or to the public by British side concerning passport numbers, fingerprints, dates of birth of Mr. A.Petrov and Mr. R.Boshirov, who applied for British visa as well as information about their previous trips to the UK and other EU countries;

- any links to the GRU, and even more – to the political leadership of Russia, seem to be total nonsense. This is again the speculation, but not facts. Actually, as an argument Teresa May stated, the GRU is characterized by high discipline, and thus it is clear the two individuals could not operate on their own. That's all kind of pervert logic. Neither OPCW could say anything about the origin of the "Novichok", nor the Brits were able to present any other evidence rather than photos and names of suspected persons.

We understand the motives for the refusal of the British to request extradition of these individuals, but why they do not request legal assistance from the Russian Federation? They claim that they "do not intend to cooperate with the killers". Nevertheless, a sensible part of the public will have a question: how then to determine the truth? Perhaps there is an easier explanation for everything. One of the possible reasons why the UK refuses to follow a legal path is that its evidence is not that valid.

Let me remind you that according to its Art. IX, the CWC stipulates a clear algorithm of actions to clarify the controversial situations.  In particular CWC requires the States-Parties should conduct bilateral consultations on any controversial issue. Acting in the legal field of the Convention, the British should have sent a request to us, and we, in turn, within 10 days to give them an answer.

However, the UK rejected our offer of cooperation, considering it below its dignity.

Our Embassy in London sent more than 60 Notes Verbales to the Foreign Office with a request for a consular access to Sergei and Yulia Skripals. However all our attempts were turned down. Thus London violated the bilateral consular convention of 1968 and the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 1959. All this is done by the United Kingdom, a state positioning itself as the beacon of international law.

Without any intension to follow the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention the UK actually invented a new formula: a technical assistance in the identification of scheduled or unscheduled chemicals under the paragraph 38 e) of Article VIII.

To begin with, “technical assistance” in the identification of a chemical is needed for those countries that have neither experts, nor laboratories, experience nor necessary equipment. The British side has all this in abundance. Especially since everything was determined in advance: this was a non-scheduled nerve agent. The Technical Secretariat was summoned only to confirm its own conclusions.

At the same time, the experts of the Technical Secretariat for some reason were taken to the morgue so that they could participate in taking biomedical samples from the deceased Dawn Sturgess. What does “technical assistance” mean in this context? This is a direct involvement of the Technical Secretariat in the national investigation. London just needs the "seal" of the OPCW to say that the specialized international organization has empowered the UK conclusions with its authority. But at the same time, as I said before, the Technical Secretariat has neither confirmed the fact that this substance is the so-called "Novichok", nor the country of origin. That is all fiction and propaganda of the British politicians.

The Russian Federation is an honest and responsible participant of the CWC. Back in 1992, all CW’s works were stopped in accordance with a special Presidential Decree. After the entry into force of the CWC, the Russian Federation has fully and thoroughly complied with all the obligations under this international treaty. Hundreds of OPCW inspectors participated in monitoring activities for many years. In 2017 we completed our chemical disarmament ahead of schedule, which was certified by our Organization. I would like to stress once again: Russia has fulfilled its obligations in full, we have nothing to hide. We completely destroyed all chemical weapons stockpiles.

However, there is still one country - the United States of America - that is not in a hurry with chemical disarmament. Surprising as it is, Americans justify themselves by saying that they lack necessary funding. Whereas Russia managed to disarm completely, the United States still has a large chemical arsenal. Why do Americans keep silent about this? They should also shed light on what kind of research and development they continue to conduct. After all, such information appears regularly. This is especially relevant since a number of former Soviet chemists with chemical weapons expertise, now reside in the United States.


13.12.2018 - Statement of the Russian Federation on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, Marrakesh, December 11, 2018

The Russian Federation supports the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. This compromise document covers many dimensions of international migration, including humanitarian aspect, development issues, human rights and fight against crime.

12.12.2018 - Embassy comment on the state of the investigation into the death of Nikolay Glushkov

Nine months have passed since former Deputy General Director of Aeroflot Nikolay Glushkov, a national of the Russian Federation, mysteriously died in London.

11.12.2018 - Joint statement by Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bolivia (plurinational state of), Burundi, China, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russian Federation, State of Palestine, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Zimbabwe at the Fourth review conference of the chemical weapons convention, the Hague, November 30, 2018

We, the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (CWC), committed to achieving the goal of freeing the world of chemical weapons, strongly condemn the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere and under any circumstances.

09.12.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the accusations of “Russian involvement” in the cases of Scott Young and Alexander Perepilichny

Question: The Sunday Times articles today speculate on the possibility that, despite earlier claims, Mr Scott Young and Mr Alexander Perepilichny were killed, while also hinting at the alleged “Russian link”. How could the Embassy comment on that? Answer: These and similar “sensations” follow the same traditional pattern. As always, no official information is provided, only leaks in the media from unknown sources. Upon this rickety foundation, fancy theories are built, with a remarkably rich collection of modal verbs used. And as always, publications appear on the eve of an important political event, such as Brexit deal vote. It is really hard to avoid the impression that we witness a pre-meditated political game to draw the public attention from the less glamorous sides of UK foreign and internal affairs.

09.12.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the UK position on chemical weapons attack in Aleppo, Syria

Question: How would you comment on the statement by the UK FCO spokesperson on chemical weapons use in Aleppo? Answer: The statement reflects the worst traditions of the modern UK diplomacy in both form and substance: no attempts are made to present any evidence supporting its allegations, instead phrases of little value, such as “likely”, “highly likely” or “highly unlikely”, are being used excessively.

07.12.2018 - Embassy Comment on the situation with Russian nationals Sergei and Yulia Skripal

More than nine months have passed since the incident with the Russian citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripal. The British authorities have been in breach of their obligations under five basic international conventions as they persistently refuse to work together with the Russian side, fail to use official channels for bilateral exchange of information and make every effort to cover up the circumstances of the incident. The Skripals have not been seen alive for a long time. Their whereabouts and health status are unknown.

06.12.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning recent publications in the British media concerning alleged increase of Russian intelligence activity

Question: How would you comment on British media reports claiming that British security services are currently witnessing intensive activity of Russian intelligence officers allegedly working under diplomatic cover? Answer: Unfortunately, the spy hysteria in the British society is aggravating. The content of such publications, which regularly appear in the British media with the connivance of the authorities, shows that the current Conservative government is increasing its efforts to create a “toxic” image of the Russian Embassy in order to complicate our interaction with the British public as much as possible. Embassy staff travelling across the country is an absolutely normal, lawful and indispensable part of their work and daily life. Yet it is displayed as some kind of intelligence missions. This amounts to an attempt to limit the Embassy’s routine operations to a minimum.

05.12.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the UK Government’s assessment of Ukraine’s actions

Question: The UK Government openly distorts the circumstances of the incident in the Kerch Strait on 25 November. What do you think is the reason for that? Answer: Unfortunately, the Ukrainian provocation in the Black Sea, as well as the general situation in the region, continues to be used by a number of Western countries, including the UK, to stir anti-Russian rhetoric. The details of the incident, most notably the blatant and deliberate violation of the territorial waters of the Russian Federation by the Ukrainian ships, are ignored by the UK Government. A number of British media outlets have also given a biased assessment of Russian actions in the Kerch Strait.

05.12.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning recent appeals of the British officials to impose new sanctions against Russia

Question: Recently British government officials have been actively urging to step up pressure on Russia by imposing new sanctions. How would you comment on this matter? Answer: We have taken note of such calls. Those statements have clearly shown the anti-Russian essence of the current Conservative government’s policies. The British officials are doing their utmost to avoid conducting a normal intergovernmental dialogue with Russia, while using only the language of ultimatums and sanctions, and are actively urging their partners, first and foremost in Europe, to act in a similar manner.

04.12.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning accusations of “spying” made against Channel One Russia journalists

Question: How would you comment on the publications in British media claiming that “Channel One Russia” journalists were involved in some sort of “spying activity”? Answer: We have taken note of the numerous publications with accusations against “Channel One Russia” journalists of “spying”, as well as of the instruction by the British Ministry of Defence that soldiers should not talk to Russian journalists and report them to the police if they ever see them near military installations. Such ungrounded accusations raise much concern. “Channel One Russia” works in the UK officially and openly, with all the necessary paperwork, in accordance with British law. In fact, this cannot always be said about certain UK journalists working in Russia.

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