LONDON (AP) — Britain is accusing Russia of violating the Chemical Weapons Convention by failing to declare the military-grade nerve agent Novichok which it says was used to poison an ex-Russian agent.
Britain’s deputy U.N. ambassador Jonathan Allen said Russia informed the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which monitors the convention last September, that it completed the destruction of its stockpiles and facilities.
But he told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council called by Britain that Russia never declared Novichok which it was required to do, and therefore it is “in serious breach of the chemical weapons program.”
Allen said that fact alone should negate any Russian arguments “about the possibility of other countries having inherited this technology.”
He said Russia “either did not care that the weapon used would be traced back to them, or mistakenly believed they could cover their traces.”
Allen said Britain knows there will be more threats and attacks from Russia denying any involvement.
He said that “this is how Russia has acted in every other case where it has been caught flouting international law — denial, distraction and threats.”
But Allen said Britain won’t let threats “weaken our resolve” in standing “firm” for democracy, the rule of law “and the freedom of our people.”
The spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded by saying one of the many reasons to dismiss Britain’s accusations against Moscow in the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy and his daughter is a suspicious absence of video footage.
Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found poisoned on March 4 in Salisbury. Russia vehemently denies involvement and has pointed to a number of possible anomalies.
Maria Zakharova told The Associated Press that the apparent lack of video of the Skripals being poisoned is a red flag.
She said that “I will never believe that this person or group of people … would not be seen after the commission of the crime. I will never believe it.”
“You have video cameras everywhere!”
Zakharova also reiterated Russian criticism that Britain hasn’t followed international procedure in the case by not providing Russia information.
She said that “if an emergency occurs in which a chemical, poisonous agent is used, there is an accompanying legal mechanism … it’s obligatory to immediately begin a bilateral investigation.”