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Stock photo from Pixabay; Porton Down, UK
Berlin

Britain’s claims about Skripal affair ‘precarious’ says German media

German intelligence already had a sample of the nerve agent used to poison the Skripals in the United Kingdom at least two decades ago. And so did the US and Britain.

Published: May 21, 2018, 7:13 am

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    Obtained after the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, NATO countries also studied and produced the substance, according to Reuters.

    A German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, a weekly Die Zeit and regional broadcasters NDR and WDR said Germany’s BND reported the news jointly of how the sample was analyzed in Sweden.

    Swedish scientists handed over the studied samples to the German government and military, sources told the German media. The Swedish government said it could not provide additional information on such short notice.

    A spokesman for the German defense ministry confirmed that research on chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear weapons materials had been done in accordance with international law, but could not provide further details.

    American and British intelligence agencies were aware of small amounts of the poison being produced in several NATO member states to test protective gear, equipment and antidotes.

    Western countries, including the US and UK, in March 2018 were thus familiar with the chemical composition of Novichok, contrary to what they have claimed.

    A rogue Russian scientist had offered the Germans a sample of the chemical agent in exchange for asylum for himself and his family. A sample was eventually smuggled out by the scientist’s wife and sent by the Germans to a Swedish chemical laboratory, according to the reports.

    Britain nevertheless blamed Russia for the poisoning and pressured more than 20 Western countries to expell large numbers of Russian diplomats over the affair, the biggest expulsion since the Cold War.

    But the United Kingdom as well as the United States had participated in the “working group” that studied the substance, where representatives from France, Canada and the Netherlands took part, German sources said.

    Then-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, had shared the formula with US and UK intelligence. British Prime Minister Theresa May therefore knew that her accusations against Russia in the Skripal affair were bogus.

    British experts at the Porton Down laboratory had taken a particular interest in Novichok. Not surprisingly, German reports called the claims by British authorities about the source of the substance used to poison the Skripals “precarious”.

    “Some NATO countries were secretly producing the chemical agent in small quantities,” German media reported, and they had also studied the necessary countermeasures.

    And despite being described as “one of the deadliest chemical weapons ever developed,” double agent Sergei Skripal survived the attack.

    Vladimir Putin expressed his relief that Skripal had been released from hospital on Friday, more than 10 weeks after the poisoning, and wished him well. He added: “If a military-grade poison had been used, the man would have died on the spot. Thank God he recovered and that he left [hospital].”

    Russia’s ambassador to London, Alexander Yakovenko, said the UK was ignoring international law because it would not allow access to the two Russian citizens.

    The British government however, continues to accuse Russia of poisoning the Skripals in Salisbury. The accusation by May alleging the complicity of Moscow, is based on claiming that Russia was the only country capable of producing Novichok. This false narrative is conveniently repeated by the mainstream Western media.

    Only Czech President Milos Zeman has admitted that his country synthesized and tested a nerve agent which is part of the Novichok family. The Czech Republic – along with Slovakia, Sweden, the United States and the United Kingdom – was cited by Russia among the countries that have the technical capacity to produce the nerve agent.

    The International Chemical Weapons Control Body, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), has repeatedly stated that it can not identify the source of the agent that was allegedly used to poison the Skripals.

    Despite that, the incident has been used as a pretext not only to expel Russian diplomats from numerous countries but also to launch a new round of far-fetched accusations about Russia’s alleged belligerence.

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