The notorious ‘Novichok’ nerve agent described as Russia’s lethal weapon has been first presented to the world by Americans and has since been replicated by 20 of their allies, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
The structure of a substance that has since been known to the world as ‘Novichok’ has been first unveiled by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology back in 1998 on the basis of the data provided by the Pentagon, the Russian Ministry said on Saturday, replying to yet another damning statement by the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
Over the years, the formula was used by Americans and more than 20 other western nations to produce a cluster of as many as 140 variations of the toxin that can be attributed to the ‘Novichok’ group, the ministry said, adding that the whole lot of them are not covered by the Chemical Weapons Convention.
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“‘Novichok’ is a western brand,” the ministry’s statement said. “We do not have it.”
Moscow reminded that all the chemical weapons in its possession were destroyed back in 2017 under “rigorous international control” overseen by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The statement came in response to a speech Maas delivered in the German parliament earlier this week. The German minister once again accused Russia of failing to provide clear answers on the case of Alexey Navalny, a Russian opposition figure supposedly poisoned by the notorious nerve agent and subsequently treated in a Berlin clinic. Maas also threatened Moscow with sanctions over the incident.
Russia, in turn, argued that it cannot launch a probe into the case without any evidence that the alleged poisoning did take place. The ministry reminded that neither Russian doctors, who saved Navalny’s life in the first crucial hours, nor German doctors, who treated him further, found any traces of a nerve agent poisoning. Those were only allegedly found almost a week later by the German military, Moscow added.
Still, Berlin has not so far provided any material evidence substantiating the poisoning narrative to Russia.