United Kingdom appears to be 'destroying' evidence in Skripal case - Russian envoy

United Kingdom appears to be 'destroying' evidence in Skripal case - Russian envoy

Mr Sedwill - who published the letter on Twitter on Friday - also said that Russian Federation has tested means of delivering chemical agents "including by application to door handles", pointing out that the highest concentration of the chemical found after the attack was on Skripal's front door handle.

Russia's intelligence agencies spied on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia for at least five years before they were poisoned with a nerve agent in March, the national security adviser to Britain's prime minister said. The same facility was named in a report by British newspaper The Times last week as the location where the nerve agent used on the Skripals was manufactured, with the paper citing British security sources.

Moscow has strongly denied responsibility and says Britain is waging a defamation campaign against it.

The claims come after the global Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons backed Britain's assertion the Skripals were poisoned by Novichok.

The comments came in a letter from Sedwill to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the PA said.

The codeword for the offensive chemical weapons programme (of which Novichoks were one part) was FOLIANT.

It goes on to say that "during the 2000s", Russian Federation created a special unit to develop chemical weapons for use as tools in state-sponsored attacks and to "train personnel from special units in the use of these weapons". The Russian side flatly 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.

In the 2000s, Sedwill said Russian Federation had trained military personnel in using these weapons, including on door handles.




Sedwill said "only Russian Federation has the technical means, operational means and the motive" to carry out such an attack.

Among the techniques they had investigated for delivering nerve agents was applying them to door handles, he said. "Within the last decade, Russian Federation has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichoks under the same program".

Yulia Skripal, 33, has been released from the hospital.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that a new report on the poisoning of a former spy does nothing to support Britain's contention that Russian Federation was behind the attack.

The letter adds that Russian intelligence services "view at least some of its defectors as legitimate targets for assassination".

"If someone was spying, why were the British services not complaining about that?"

Calling on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to take action, he concluded: "I know that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will remain seized of the need to confront the increasingly aggressive pattern of Russian Federation behaviour of which the attack in Salisbury was an acute and recent example".

"I want to underline: the OPCW only has confirmed the composition of the chemical agent", Lavrov said at a news conference.

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