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News story: Novichok nerve agent use in Salisbury: UK government response

Updated: Added translation


A Foreign & Commonwealth Office spokesperson said:


Our Ambassador in Moscow has just been informed by the Russian government that they will expel 23 diplomats, close the British Consulate-General in St Petersburg and close the British Council in Moscow.

This follows the action we have taken, alongside other measures, to dismantle the Russian espionage network operating in the UK as a consequence of the attempted assassination of 2 people here in Britain using a nerve agent.

In light of Russia’s previous behaviour, we anticipated a response of this kind and the National Security Council will meet early next week to consider next steps. Our priority today is looking after our staff in Russia and assisting those that will return to the UK.

Russia’s response doesn’t change the facts of the matter – the attempted assassination of 2 people on British soil, for which there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable. It is Russia that is in flagrant breach of international law and the Chemical Weapons Convention.

We have no disagreement with the people of Russia and we continue to believe it is not in our national interest to break off all dialogue between our countries but the onus remains on the Russian state to account for their actions and to comply with their international obligations.

Read more about the government’s response to the Salisbury attack.

Continue reading...
 
Good morning. I have been very heartened already by the strength of the support that the UK is getting in respect of the incident in Salisbury and I think that is partly because they can see that Britain is acting [with] punctilious accordance with our obligations under the Treaty on Chemical Weapons and I would contrast that with how the Russians are behaving.

Today the technical experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are arriving in the UK to take the samples from Salisbury and in the meantime the Russian denials grow increasingly absurd. At one time they say that they never made Novichok, at another time they say that they did make Novichok but all the stocks have been destroyed. Then again they say that they made Novichok but all the stocks have been destroyed but some of them have mysteriously escaped to Sweden or at the Czech Republic or Slovakia or the United States – or even – America, or the United Kingdom.

I think what people can see is that this is a classic Russian strategy of trying to conceal the needle of truth in a haystack of lies and obfuscation. And what really strikes me talking to European friends and partners today is that 12 years after the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko in London they are not fooling anybody anymore. There is scarcely a country around the table – here in Brussels – that has not been affected by some kind of malign or disruptive Russian behaviour and that is why I think the strength and the resolve of our European friends is so striking today. Thank you very much.

Watch the Foreign Secretary speaking


Foreign Secretary’s statement to the Foreign Affairs Council


Read more about the government’s response to the Salisbury attack.

Continue reading...
 
There is no proper evidence that would stand up in a court of law...
At this time and what is available in open source. If it was a Court on ‘balance of probabilities’ it would of course be a different test to ‘beyond reasonable doubt’
That other countries dance to the same tune is nothing more than political guff... possibly by design.
So it’s a conspiracy then?
I am open minded and look forward to seeing some objective reasoning.
Clearly not based on your statement above and below
At the moment is looks more like a culture of irrational hatred...the perfect target for subversion.
At the moment it looks ‘highly likely’ Russia was involved. They declined to answer whether it was them and have set off the usual obfuscation and denial.

I await the OPCW report and the ongoing criminal investigation.
 
There is no proper evidence that would stand up in a court of law...
Yet another poster banging out the "there is no evidence" crap!
None of us know what evidence has been found, but the fact that countries and organisations around the world (who have probably seen a bit more than we have) are vocally supporting the UK government, leads me to believe that the evidence is out there and will point the finger at Russia. Why else would foreign governments and heads of state risk embarrassment by supporting the UK if they didn't think we were right?
 
Independent investigators from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will arrive in the UK tomorrow to kick off their investigation into the nerve agent used in the attempted assassinations of Mr Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury on 4 March.

The team from The Hague will meet with officials from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and the police to discuss the process for collecting samples, including environmental ones.

These will then be despatched to highly reputable international laboratories selected by the OPCW for testing with results expected to take a minimum of 2 weeks.

This is the next step in the process to independently verify the analysis carried out by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down. Last Wednesday, the Prime Minister wrote to the OPCW to formally invite them to verify the government’s analysis of the nerve agent used in the Salisbury attack. Subsequently the UK’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW wrote to the Technical Secretariat inviting them to come to the UK to take a sample, under Article 8 of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

It reflects the UK’s commitment to fully complying with the obligations of the Chemical Weapons Convention. On 12 March the Foreign Secretary summoned the Russian Ambassador and sought an explanation from the Russian government, as Article 9 of the convention is clear we have the right to do. We received no meaningful response. It is therefore Russia which is failing to comply with the provisions of the convention. We should resist any Russian attempts to muddy the waters.

The Foreign Secretary revealed this morning that we have information indicating that within the last decade, Russia has investigated ways of delivering nerve agents likely for assassination. And part of this programme has involved producing and stockpiling quantities of Novichok. This is a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The start of the investigation by the international chemical weapons watchdog comes as the Foreign Secretary travels to Brussels to brief foreign ministers from across the European Union on the attempted assassinations in Salisbury before meeting with the NATO Secretary General.

As the Foreign Secretary noted this morning, we have been encouraged by the international support we have received to date. More than 20 countries across 6 continents have expressed their solidarity with us and we will continue to work with our European partners and allies around the world to tackle the threat posed by Russia to our collective security.


Read more about the UK government response to the Salisbury attack.

Background


  • Novichok is a nerve agent, which meets the Chemical Weapon Convention’s (CWC) definition of a chemical weapon, toxic chemical and precursor. Thus it is covered by the Convention’s prohibitions


  • the chemical was positively identified by world-leading experts at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, which is one of the accredited and designated labs in the OPCW laboratory network.


  • Russia is the official successor state to the USSR. As such, Russia legally took responsibility for ensuring the CWC applies to all former Soviet Chemical Weapons stocks and facilities


  • Members of the Convention must declare chemical weapons stockpiles and facilities and destroy Chemical Weapons within 10 years of the convention coming into force for that party. In 1997, the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force for Russia and solidified Russian commitments to chemical weapons disarmament and non-proliferation


  • developing, stockpiling and using chemical weapons are all a breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention

Find out more about the UK government response to the Salisbury attack.

Further information

Media enquiries


For journalists


Email newsdesk@fco.gov.uk

Newsdesk 020 7008 3100

Continue reading...
 
At this time and what is available in open source. If it was a Court on ‘balance of probabilities’ it would of course be a different test to ‘beyond reasonable doubt’

So it’s a conspiracy then?

Clearly not based on your statement above and below

At the moment it looks ‘highly likely’ Russia was involved. They declined to answer whether it was them and have set off the usual obfuscation and denial.

I await the OPCW report and the ongoing criminal investigation.
In this case probability is too strong a word...possibility is more reasonable. Yes there may be some Russian involvement but a direct order from Putin has less credibility. This was a rather clumsy effort, perhaps designed to indicate the Kremlin. Denial is their only option... I have not heard any obfuscation from them...now they are willing to cooperate with the investigation. Should be interesting.
 
Yet another poster banging out the "there is no evidence" crap!
None of us know what evidence has been found, but the fact that countries and organisations around the world (who have probably seen a bit more than we have) are vocally supporting the UK government, leads me to believe that the evidence is out there and will point the finger at Russia. Why else would foreign governments and heads of state risk embarrassment by supporting the UK if they didn't think we were right?
Russia is the traditional cold war enemy of the West... there is still a 'them and us' legacy.
 
This was a rather clumsy effort, perhaps designed to indicate the Kremlin. Denial is their only option... I have not heard any obfuscation from them...now they are willing to cooperate with the investigation. Should be interesting.
You may not have, but everybody else has.

EU demands Russia immediately hand over all information on nerve agent which poisoned spy

“The Russian denials grow increasingly absurd. At one time they say they never made Novichok, at another they say they did make Novichok but all the stocks have been destroyed, and then again they say that they made Novichok and all the stocks have been destroyed but some of them have mysteriously escaped to Sweden, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the United States, or even the United Kingdom,” he told reporters on the summit doorstep.
I think what people can see is that this is a classic Russia strategy of trying to conceal the needle of truth in a haystack of lies and obfuscation. What really strikes me talking to European friends and partners today is that 12 years after the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko in London they’re not fooling anybody anymore."
 
I think the importance of Russian money is being massively ‘overstated’ by certain parties (for fairly obvious reasons).
Of which only one might be BP, who are exposed to their eyeballs.
They’ve already had their fingers burned once in Russia. If they haven’t learned the lesson that it’s a stupid place to do business it’s their hard luck.
Anyway BP is more American P these days.
 
In this case probability is too strong a word...possibility is more reasonable. Yes there may be some Russian involvement but a direct order from Putin has less credibility. This was a rather clumsy effort, perhaps designed to indicate the Kremlin. Denial is their only option... I have not heard any obfuscation from them...now they are willing to cooperate with the investigation. Should be interesting.
I gave you a like for that.
Quite how you have managed to NOT to have seen, read or heard the the obfuscation that has been released several times per day from Russia is simply outstanding. :)

Simply having the ability to read, own a tv, radio and have an internet connection (plus obviously reading this thread and seeing the multiple examples of Russian game playing mentioned) has meant it was impossible not to have seen what you somehow managed to miss!

Well done to you!
 
Let's hope they use logic in their dig.

No idea how they intend to work out who to blame but then again that's not their purview as they aren't clairvoyants.

Especially as we have these 2 glaring inconsistencies from the supposed "inventor of Novachok" within days.
He only had 26yrs to come up with an answer and he couldn't even get that right.
Only Russia could be behind spy poisoning, says Novichok inventor
Russian Scientist Says Other Countries May Have Novichok Samples

Nice hotels, a whacking daily-rate and lots of expenses will be the order of the day, I suspect.
Let the games begin.
 
Let's hope they use logic in their dig.

No idea how they intend to work out who to blame but then again that's not their purview as they aren't clairvoyants.

Especially as we have these 2 glaring inconsistencies from the supposed "inventor of Novachok" within days.
He only had 26yrs to come up with an answer and he couldn't even get that right.
Only Russia could be behind spy poisoning, says Novichok inventor
Russian Scientist Says Other Countries May Have Novichok Samples

Nice hotels, a whacking daily-rate and lots of expenses will be the order of the day, I suspect.
Let the games begin.
Looking for another thread to be banned from Comrade?
 
That's a foregone conclusion around here but like with buses: there'll be another one along soon enough to jump on.
Can you step back and consider how you're coming across?
You're not as clever as you'd like to think; you're quite tiresome and you're not supposed to scribbly dribble over threads like this in the serious parts of the Forum.
 

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I gave you a like for that.
Quite how you have managed to NOT to have seen, read or heard the the obfuscation that has been released several times per day from Russia is simply outstanding. :)

Simply having the ability to read, own a tv, radio and have an internet connection (plus obviously reading this thread and seeing the multiple examples of Russian game playing mentioned) has meant it was impossible not to have seen what you somehow managed to miss!

Well done to you!
None so blind as won't see as they say, he was the same in the holocaust denial thread.
 
In this case probability is too strong a word...possibility is more reasonable. Yes there may be some Russian involvement but a direct order from Putin has less credibility. This was a rather clumsy effort, perhaps designed to indicate the Kremlin. Denial is their only option... I have not heard any obfuscation from them...now they are willing to cooperate with the investigation. Should be interesting.
My bold.
In the same way that they promised every assistance in the Litvinenko saga? And then poisoned detective inspector Brian Tarpey, who led the investigation and members of his team during a visit to the prosecutor general’s office.? That sort of cooperation?
 

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