Russia says Britain must have its own supply of the ‘Novichok’ nerve agent and could have supplied what poisoned Skripal
Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, says Britain could be the source of the nerve agent used to poison former GRU Colonel Sergey Skripal and his daughter.
Speaking at a session of the UN Security Council called by London, Nebenzya argued that “more than 200 open sources” confirm that Western intelligence agencies “extracted” several Russian specialists who developed the chemical weapon, and later recreated and began testing the nerve agent themselves.
The Russian diplomat says chemical weapons “of this type” were also developed and produced at the British Defense Ministry laboratory in Porton that identified the chemical used to poison Skripal. According to Nebenzya, the British would have needed a sample of the nerve agent to identify what poisoned the former spy. Russia’s UN representative also complained that the British investigation into Skripal’s case is being conducted “non-transparently.”
Afterwards, the UK blocked a joint Security Council statementprepared by Russian diplomats, adding amendments that “distorted the meaning of the document,” Moscow says. The statement expressed “deep concern regarding information that a nerve agent was supposedly used” in Great Britain, and called on all interested nations to “consult and cooperate in the investigation of this matter.”
What triggered this UN Security Council session?
The British called for it after Prime Minister Theresa May suspended high-level government contacts with the Russian Federation and announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats, following Moscow’s refusal to explain how a Russian nerve agent was used to poison Skripal, his daughter, and several others in the Salisbury area on March 4.
Skripal spied for MI6 for nine years, before the Russian authorities caught him and imprisoned him for treason. He was later included in a spy swap that sent him to England in 2010, where he’s lived ever since.
The Kremlin has denied any role in his poisoning and responded angrily to the British government’s allegations. On March 15, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow would retaliateby expelling several British diplomats, though he didn’t initially say how many.