Skripal case 10 使われた毒薬はノビチョークではなくBZ: ずくなしの冷や水


Skripal case 10 使われた毒薬はノビチョークではなくBZ

Any undercover resettlement of poisoned former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia would be seen as a citizen abduction, Russia’s embassy in London has said.

The embassy said any secret relocation of the duo from their current position in the Wiltshire town of Salisbury would negate any chance of hearing their account of what happened on March 4, when Sergei and Yulia were struck by a powerful military-grade nerve agent.

"The world, while having no opportunity to interact with them, will have every reason to see this as an abduction of two Russian nationals or at least as their isolation," the embassy’s website said.

The remarks come after news that the Skripals are responding “exceptionally well to the treatment at the Salisbury District Hospital. Yulia has reportedly been discharged, while her father will be released in “due course,” the hospital told reporters on Tuesday morning.

Yulia, a Russian citizen who lived in Moscow and was attacked in the UK while visiting her father, reportedly intends to seek political asylum in Britain, Russia’s RIA news agency reported on Monday.

“I know that Yulia Skripal’s statement about political asylum is coming already,” her cousin, Viktoria Skripal, said on a Russian TV talk show, according to RIA.

‘A small amount of Novichok should have killed for sure’: Chemical weapons analyst tells RT
Olivier Lepick, an expert on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, sat down with RT to chat discuss the potency of nerve agents following the reported recovery of the Skirpals.

Lepick, from the Foundation for Strategic Research, told RT’s Daniel Hawkins that Novichok is “very toxic” and “five to eight times more toxic than VX” – better known as ‘venomous agent X,’ a killer chemical weapon first discovered at Porton Down in England during the early 1950s.

“A small amount [of Novichok] should have killed Mr Skripal for sure,” Lepick said.

“What is still very difficult to assess today is how the Novichok was delivered to the victim. Before we know how it was delivered to the victim, it is very difficult to assess the amount of the chemical agent that was in contact with [them].”

Yulia Skripal and her father were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury on March 4, after they were attacked with an A-234 nerve agent, similar to Novichok. The director of Salisbury District Hospital said on Tuesday that Yulia had been discharged and her father’s health is improving.

On Wednesday, Porton Down Chief Executive Gary Aitkenhead revealed that the laboratory was unable to confirm the origin of the chemical agent used in the attack. Aitkenhead’s comments came after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a German TV interview that Porton Down had said the substance used to poison the Skripals was unequivocally Russian.

Media reports suggest that the US is prepared to resettle the Skripals with new identities. Russia’s UN envoy, Vassily Nebenzia, has warned that such a move points to the CIA’s role in the poisoning saga and could see the Skripals disappear without providing key evidence on the case.

Yulia was released from hospital on Monday, with senior staff from the Salisbury District medical team telling the media that they hope Sergei will also be discharged in “due course.”

Salisbury Hospital Does Not Confirm Skripals Were Treated for Chemical Poisoning
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Russian Embassy in London on Tuesday, after analyzing statements by a number of hospital officials, said that Salisbury’s hospital in the United Kingdom has never expressly confirmed that former military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia had any symptoms of chemical intoxication and were treated exactly for that.

"The Salisbury Hospital has never confirmed that Sergei and Yulia Skripal had any symptoms of chemical poisoning and that they were treated precisely for this. Notably, today Dr. Blanshard [Medical Director at the Salisbury District Hospital] has abstractly enumerated the general symptoms of such poisoning and explained how they are usually treated," the Embassy said, TASS reported.

"At the same time, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office continues to assure us that Sergei and Yulia Skripal are receiving high-quality medical care, again without details," the Embassy stated, underlining that "In this regard, today the Embassy has sent another Note Verbale to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and a letter to Dr. Blanshard with a request to clarify this fundamental issue."

"Furthermore, it remains unclear if either Sergei or Yulia Skripal agreed on a particular treatment or not. If not, who gave agreement on their behalf? What was their exact diagnosis and how the decision on the treatment was taken? What was this treatment? This is only a short list of questions that the British side has failed to answer," the Embassy stressed.

Skripal and his daughter suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4, according to London.

Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London rushed to accuse Russia of being involved in the incident.

Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia.

On April 3, Chief Executive of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down Gary Aitkenhead told Sky News that British experts had been unable to identify the origin of the nerve agent used to attack Skripal and his daughter.

However, in the wake of the Salisbury incident, the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow without presenting any evidence of its involvement in the incident.

In retaliation to the UK’s steps, Russia expelled 23 British diplomats, closed the British consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg, while the British Council had to shut down its operations in Russia.

The United Kingdom was later requested to reduce the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia so that it would match the number of Russian diplomats in Great Britain.

Yulia Skripal issues statement via British police, asks cousin not to contact her
Yulia Skripal has refused contact with the Russian Embassy and her Moscow-based cousin, Viktoria, and asked for no one else to speak on her behalf, in a statement released by Scotland Yard after she was discharged from hospital.

Despite leaving Salisbury hospital on Monday, Skripal said that she is “still suffering with the effects of the nerve agent used against us,” adding that her father, former double agent Sergei, remains “seriously ill.”

"I find myself in a totally different life than the ordinary one I left just over a month ago, and I am seeking to come to terms with my prospects, whilst also recovering from this attack on me,” the statement said.

Skripal, a Russian citizen, said that she has been given contacts at the Russian Embassy in the UK, but said that at “the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services,” adding that “if I change my mind I know how to contact them.”

Explaining that she is “not strong enough to give a full interview to the media,” Skripal insisted “that no one speaks for me, or for my father, but ourselves.” She specifically asked her cousin, Viktoria, who has appeared extensively on Russian television and requested to see Yulia through diplomatic channels, “not to visit me or try to contact me,” underlining that “her opinions and assertions are not mine and they are not my father's.”

Viktoria told Ruptly last week that Yulia sounded “coached” and “did not use her own words” during the only phone conversation between the relatives. Despite Yulia saying she was not open to a visit on the phone line, Viktoria insisted that it would overcome “bureaucratic tricks” that led to her visitor visa application to the UK being denied, and she personally appealed to Theresa May to overturn the decision.

Hours earlier, a Russian Embassy source in London accused UK authorities of “forcibly detaining” Yulia and her father and said that Moscow diplomats would continue to try to arrange a meeting with her.

“The UK side continues to deny us information about her true health status, wishes or location,” the source told RIA news agency. “It is apparent that she is being isolated, eyewitness evidence is being concealed, and obstacles are being erected in the path of an objective and independent investigation.”

Skripal and her father fell into a coma for several weeks, following what appeared to be a poisoning on March 4 in the city of Salisbury, where Sergei lived after being exchanged in a spy swap in 2010.

The UK insists that Russia was behind the attack, a claim the Kremlin has staunchly denied. Britain and its allies have expelled over 100 Russian diplomats over the incident, with mirror measures being applied by Moscow.

UK government's reputation at stake over Skripal case – Russia's envoy to Britain
The Skripal case has raised a lot of questions, which are posed not only by Moscow, but by the British people, the Russian ambassador to the UK told RT, and failure to answer them puts the UK government's reputation on the line.

"We have the strategic patience and what we're going to do is to just press the British government, because they have to give a reply not only to us but also to the British people," Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko told RT in an exclusive interview.

The UK government has started answering some of the questions, but the pace is still very slow and the major ones remain unanswered. The scandal erupted in early March, when former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found in critical condition in the town of Salisbury. Top UK officials pinned the blame on Moscow, but they are yet to release evidence to back up the accusations.

"We're working every day, so we're asking more and more questions. The government has started answering these questions, but very very, let's say, in a shrink way, but still we're trying to involve them in this process," Yakovenko said. "But what seriously matters, is that why the government is doing this? Why are they declining all our requests? Why have they classified all the information?"

The Russian position on the case remains unchanged, Yakovenko stressed. Moscow believes that the whole Skripal scandal was a "huge" false flag operation, "but we have to prove it." While the UK government is likely to have a "political motivation" for blaming Russia, the diplomat said, it's too early to draw definitive conclusions. For now, finding out the truth behind what really happened is key.

The political "motivation" might actually take its roots in Brexit, as the UK seeks "its place under the sun" in the new reality, Yakovenko said.

Lavrov: Swiss lab says ‘BZ toxin’ used in Salisbury, not produced in Russia, was in US & UK service
The substance used on Sergei Skripal was an agent called BZ, according to a Swiss lab, the Russian foreign minister said. The toxin was never produced in Russia, but was in service in the US, UK, and other NATO states.

Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with an incapacitating toxin known as 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate or BZ, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, citing the results of the examination conducted by a Swiss chemical lab that worked with the samples that London handed over to the Organisation for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The Swiss center sent the results to the OPCW. However, the UN chemical watchdog limited itself only to confirming the formula of the substance used to poison the Skripals in its final report without mentioning anything about the other facts presented in the Swiss document, the Russian foreign minister added. He went on to say that Moscow would ask the OPCW about its decision to not include any other information provided by the Swiss in its report.
The Swiss center mentioned by Lavrov is the Spiez Laboratory controlled by the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection and ultimately by the country’s defense minister. The lab is also an internationally recognized center of excellence in the field of the nuclear, biological, and chemical protection and is one of the five centers permanently authorized by the OPCW.

The Russian foreign minister said that London refused to answer dozens of “very specific” questions asked by Moscow about the Salisbury case, as well as to provide any substantial evidence that could shed light on the incident. Instead, the UK accused Russia of failing to answer its own questions, he said, adding that, in fact, London did not ask any questions but wanted Moscow to admit that it was responsible for the delivery of the chemical agent to the UK.

The scandal erupted in early March, when former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found in critical condition in the town of Salisbury. Top UK officials almost immediately pinned the blame on Russia.

Moscow believes that the entire Skripal case lacks transparency and that the UK is in fact not interested in an independent inquiry. "We get the impression that the British government is deliberately pursuing the policy of destroying all possible evidence, classifying all remaining materials and making a transparent investigation impossible," the Russian ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, said during a press conference on Friday.

Emergency Preparedness and Response
BZ 3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate 3-キヌクリジニルベンジレート

OPCW-accredited Swiss lab can ‘neither confirm nor deny’ BZ toxin was used in Skripal poisoning
The Swiss state Spiez lab which has studied samples from Salisbury said it can “neither confirm nor deny” the Russian foreign minister’s statement that nerve agent BZ was used in Sergei Skripal’s poisoning.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made waves on Saturday when he said that Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, and his daughter Yulia, were poisoned with an incapacitating toxin known as 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate, or simply BZ. While the toxin was never produced in Russia, it was in service in the US, UK and other NATO states.

The top Russian diplomat was citing the results of the examination conducted by the Spiez lab, designated by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The Swiss chemical laboratory worked with the samples that London handed over to the OPCW, Lavrov said.

“We cannot have any statement on that,” Andreas Bucher, Spiez Laboratory’s strategy and communications head, told TASS on Monday.

“We are contractually bound to the OPCW for confidentiality. So, the only institution that could confirm what Mr. Lavrov was saying is the OPCW. We cannot confirm or deny anything,” he added.
The Swiss state research center is controlled by the country’s Federal Office for Civil Protection and, ultimately, by the defense minister.

Asked to clarify the relationship between the OPCW and the Spiez lab, as well as between the OPCW and the UK military research facility at Porton Down, a spokesperson for the OPCW told RT in a written statement on Monday that "designated laboratories are a lynchpin of the Organization's verification regime and its capacity to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons. They must be able to perform off-site analysis of chemical samples collected by OPCW inspectors from chemical production facilities, storage depots and other installations, or from the site of an alleged use of chemical weapons. These laboratories offer the necessary assurance to our States Parties that chemical analyses needed to make determinations or to clarify issues occurring during OPCW deployments are carried out competently, impartially, and with unambiguous results."

"OPCW does not disclose the identity of designated labs that contribute to OPCW activities. These labs are also bound by secrecy agreements. These arrangements exist to ensure the integrity of the analysis and results provided by the designated labs," the statement added.

The OPCW office left unanswered other RT questions, including whether the probe carried out by the Spiez laboratory discovered any presence of the Novichok nerve agent or BZ in the sample provided to the lab by the OPCW.

The Swiss lab sent the results of its examination to the OPCW. However, the chemical watchdog limited itself only to confirming the formula of the substance used to poison the Skripals in its final report, without mentioning anything about the other facts presented in the Swiss document, the Russian foreign minister said on Saturday. "In this connection, we are asking the OPCW a question: Why was the information that would reflect conclusions of the experts from the laboratory in the city of Spiez omitted in the final report?"

The UK refused to answer a number of questions asked by Moscow about the Salisbury case, Lavrov noted, adding that Moscow, unlike its Western counterparts, would never keep vital information secret.

"Our colleagues are telling us they have some secret data, but say they cannot share it," the minister said. "As you understand, we also have an opportunity to receive confidential information. And since this information concerns literally life-and-death issues, we will not keep this information secret," he added.

"We get the impression that the British government is deliberately pursuing the policy of destroying all possible evidence, classifying all remaining materials and making a transparent investigation impossible," the Russian ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, said during a press conference on Friday.

One of the worst international scandals in years erupted in early March, when former double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found in a critical condition in the English city of Salisbury. The UK government rushed to pin the blame on Russia.

Reports: Nerve Agent Used to Poison Skripals Was Delivered ‘in A Liquid Form’
TEHRAN (FNA)- The UK government said on Tuesday clean-up work is beginning in Salisbury, which was the site of the suspected nerve agent attack against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

According to Sky News television channel, citing the UK's Department for the Environment, the nerve agent that was used to poison Skripal and his daughter was delivered “in a liquid form”, following the news of the beginning of clean-up at the site of the alleged attack.

"Clean-up work is beginning in Salisbury after the appalling nerve agent attack, to bring a small number of potentially contaminated sites back into safe use for the people of the city and its visitors," the statement of the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Public Health England, Department of Health and Social Care, and Home Office read.

The department said that a total of nine sites, three of which are in the city center, have been identified as requiring "some level of specialist cleaning."

"Today (Tuesday 17 April) a small cordoned area of London Road cemetery was the first area to be reopened to the public after extensive investigations and testing established that it was not contaminated," the statement added.

In March, Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious on a bench at a shopping center in the UK city of Salisbury.

The United Kingdom promptly accused Moscow of orchestrating the attack with what UK experts claimed was the A234 nerve agent.

Russia has denied having any role in the poisoning, pointing to the lack of evidence provided by London to substantiate its accusations.

Britain admits OPCW did not confirm ‘essential evidence’ on origin of Skripal poison
The British delegation to the OPCW has admitted that international chemical weapons inspectors did not confirm the origin of the nerve agent used in the Salisbury ex-spy poisoning.

The UK’s representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Peter Wilson, said identifying the nerve agent is an “essential part of the investigation,” and that the OPCW has identified neither its origin nor the laboratory where it was produced.

"But of course, while the identification of the nerve agent used is an essential piece of technical evidence in our investigation, neither DSTL’s analysis, nor the OPCW’s report, identifies the country or laboratory of origin of the agent used in this attack," he said.

The British government claims a Soviet-era nerve agent that has become known as Novichok was used against Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia and accused Russia of producing and deploying it.

However, the claims of Russian involvement have not been backed up by either Britain’s own scientists at the Porton Down laboratories or the OPCW, both of which say it’s not their job to apportion blame or identify the origin, but only the type of substance involved.

Wilson was speaking at a meeting of the OPCW in The Hague, which was called by Britain. The UK delegation reportedly said it would soon give some long-awaited answers posed by Moscow concerning the Skripal case.

The Russian embassy in London submitted a list of 14 questions on March 31. These asked why Moscow had been denied consular access to the Skripals, both Russian citizens. Moscow also asked the British Foreign Office why it had not been informed which antidote had been used to treat the Skripals, and how such a medicine had been made available to local doctors. It also inquired how the UK arrived at the conclusion that the agent used in the attack could only be of “Russian origin.”

In the latest statement to the OPCW, the UK says its accusations against Russia were based partly on “credible open-source reporting and intelligence.” So far, none of that material has been made public. The police investigation into the events in Salisbury is also still ongoing, but the government did not wait for Scotland Yard’s conclusions before insisting that it was “highly likely” that Russia was to blame for targeting the Skripals.

Russia has repeatedly denied the allegations and accused the UK of excluding it from the investigation, as well as destroying evidence. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said “‘highly likely’ is a new invention of British diplomacy to describe why they punish people – because these people are ‘highly likely’ guilty. Like in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll when he described a trial… and the King said: ‘Let’s ask the jury’ and the Queen shouted: ‘No jury! Sentence first! Verdict afterwards!’ That’s the logic of ‘highly likely.’”

Russia's OPCW envoy exposes 'eight UK lies' in Skripal case
The UK's narrative in the Skripal case is a "story woven with lies," with London continuously trying to "deceive" the international community, Russia's OPCW envoy said, highlighting eight examples of such misinformation.

"We've tried to show that everything our British colleagues produce is a story woven with lies," Russia's permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Aleksandr Shulgin told reporters on Wednesday, following the organization's meeting on the Skripal case.

"And, unlike the British, who aren't used to taking responsibility for their words and unfounded accusations, we showed specific facts why we believe our British partners, to put it mildly, are 'deceiving' everyone." The official provided eight examples of UK-pushed misinformation, surrounding the March 4 events, when the former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in the town of Salisbury

#1. Russia refuses to answer UK 'questions'

"In reality, they've asked us only two 'questions'… And both were worded in such way that the existence of an undocumented arsenal of chemical weaponry at Russia’s disposal was presented as an established fact, beyond any doubt."

It was effectively an ultimatum, pressing Moscow to either confess that it "attacked the UK with chemical weapons," or to admit that it had "lost control over the chemical warfare arsenal."

Moscow answered both of these 'questions' immediately, stating that it had nothing to do with the Salisbury incident. Apart from that, the official emphasized, it is an established fact that Russia destroyed all its chemical weaponry stockpile ahead of schedule last year.
#2. UK abides by Chemical Weapons Convention rulebook

The OPCW procedures clearly state that if one member state has issues with another, it should send an official request, and thus the other party would be obliged to respond within 10 days, Shulgin said. However, instead, the UK allegedly "instigated by their colleagues from across the pond," disregarded the established mechanism and came up with a dubious "independent verification" scheme, which violates those very OPCW rules.
#3. Russia refuses to cooperate

While the UK and a number of its allies accuse Russia of "refusing to cooperate to establish the truth," the situation is exactly the opposite, Shulgin insists. Moscow is interested in a thorough investigation of the incident – especially since the victims are Russian citizens. Moscow repeatedly insisted on a joint probe and urged London to release data on the Skripal case, but all efforts were in vain. Many requests went unanswered by the UK, while others received only a formal reply.
#4. Russia invents versions to distract attention

Despite numerous speculations and allegations by questionable sources, cited by the UK's own domestic media, it was Moscow that was eventually accused of coming up with some "30 versions" of the Salisbury events, allegedly to "disrupt the investigation," Shulgin said.

"In reality, the picture is different. In fact, it's the British tabloids, the so-called independent media, which is multiplying those versions," the official stated, recalling some of the narratives, most of which entirely contradict each other.

#5. Exterminating traitors is Russia's official state policy

"They claim that the Russian leadership has, on multiple occasions, stated that extermination of traitors abroad is a state policy of Russia," Shulgin said. "This is slander, of course. The British cannot produce a single example of such statements, since the Russian leadership has never said anything of the kind."
#6. Experts pin the blame on Russia

The head of the OPCW mission has clearly said that it was impossible to determine in which country the toxic substance used in Salisbury had originated. Yet the OPCW findings were once again used by the UK officials to claim Moscow was "highly likely" responsible. "Look, the head said it was impossible and they, abandoning all common sense, said 'They've confirmed our evaluations that it was Russia.' How else can you evaluate this but as a lie?" Shulgin wondered.

#7. 'Novichok' is a Soviet invention, so it has to be Russia

The development of the so-called Novichok family of toxic agents more than 30 years ago in the Soviet Union was one of the main cornerstones in the UK narrative, pinning blame for the Skripal incident on Russia. Publicly available sources, however, indicate that "the West has been and still is conducting research and development into such substances," Shulgin said, giving a fresh example of such activities.

"Not long ago, namely on 1 December 2015, the US Patent and Trademark Office filed a request to its Russian colleagues asking to check patentability … of a chemical weaponry-filled bullet, which could be equipped with Tabun, Sarin or the Novichok family of agents," the official stated.
#8. Yulia Skripal avoids contact with relatives & refuses Russian consular support

While such a statement was indeed produced by the UK authorities "on behalf" of Yulia, Moscow believes it to be false. According to Shulgin, the situation with Yulia is starting to look like a Russian citizen is effectively being "held hostage" by the UK authorities.
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