Statement by Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation, Ambassador Alexander Shulgin, to the OPCW concerning the Salisbury attack

Following on from my earlier article, below is the statement made yesterday – March 13 – by Ambassador Alexander Shulgin to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at the Hague. I agree that the UK government need to abandon the “the language of ultimatums and threats and return to the legal framework of the chemical convention, which makes it possible to resolve this kind of situation.” 

This request seems the most reasonable solution to the current diplomatic freeze and the safest regarding what has now become a tactical impasse – which makes an escalation of hostilities more likely. 

Mutual cooperation from both member states on this matter with an independent, international arbitrator, while operating within a framework of our international norms and laws, would open up possibilities to prevent this conflict from escalating further, which could ultimately end with potentially catastrophic consequences all round. 

Statement by Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the OPCW, Ambassador Alexander Shulgin, at the 87th session of the OPCW Executive Council on the chemical incident in Salisbury, The Hague, March 13, 2018.

Mr Chairperson,

In connection with the vicious attacks launched by British officials in London, as well as the statement by the head of the British delegation to the OPCW with regard to Russia concerning the suspicious story of two persons poisoned with a toxic agent in Salisbury, we would like to state the following.

The British authorities’ unfounded accusations of Russia’s alleged involvement in using poisonous agents on their territory are absolutely unacceptable. Our British colleagues should recall that Russia and the United Kingdom are members of the OPCW which is one of the most successful and effective disarmament and non-proliferation mechanisms. We call upon them to abandon the language of ultimatums and threats and return to the legal framework of the chemical convention, which makes it possible to resolve this kind of situation.

If London does have serious reasons to suspect Russia of violating the CWC – and the statement read by distinguished Ambassador Peter Wilson indicates directly that this is so – we suggest that Britain immediately avail itself of the procedures provided for by paragraph 2 of Article 9 of the CWC. They make it possible, on a bilateral basis, to officially contact us for clarifications regarding any issues that raise doubts or concerns.

We would also like to emphasise that such clarifications under the Convention are provided to the requesting member state as soon as possible, but in any case no later than 10 days following receipt of the request. As such, the ultimatum’s demand that information be provided immediately, by the end of today, is absolutely unacceptable.

Our British colleagues should save their propaganda fervour and slogans for their unenlightened domestic audience, where perhaps they will have some effect. Here, within the walls of a specialised international organisation, such as the OPCW, one must use facts and nothing but the facts. Stop fomenting hysteria, go ahead and officially formalise your request to begin consultations with us in order to clarify the situation.

A fair warning, we will require material evidence of the alleged Russian trace in this high-profile case. Britain’s allegations that they have everything, and their world-famous scientists have irrefutable data, but they will not give us anything, will not be taken into account. For us, this will mean that London has nothing substantial to show, and all its loud accusations are nothing but fiction and another instance of the dirty information war being waged on Russia.

Sooner or later, they will have to be held accountable for their lies.

In addition, in this particular case, it would be legitimate for the British side to seek assistance from the OPCW Technical Secretariat in conducting an independent laboratory analysis of the available samples that allegedly show traces of nerve agents in Salisbury.

Thank you, Mr Chairperson.

We ask you to circulate this statement as an official document of the 87th session of the OPCW’s Executive Council and post it on the Organisation’s external server.

You can read the original statement document here.

 

Update

In the Commons today, Jeremy Corbyn says a “robust dialogue” is  needed with Russia to protect national security. He also stressed the need to gather evidence and abide by international law, underlining the essential role of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), based in The Hague. This rational and responsible  approach is one that the public expects from a leader.

He said: “If the government believes that it is still a possibility that Russia negligently lost control of a military-grade nerve agent, what action is being taken through the OPCW with our allies?”

Corbyn then asked: “How has she responded to the Russian government’s request for a sample of the agent used in the Salisbury attack, to run its own tests?”

He added: “Has high-resolution trace analysis been run on a sample of the nerve agent and has that revealed any evidence as to the location of its production or the identity of its perpetrators?

“And can the Prime Minister update the House on what conversations, if any, she has had with the Russian Government?”

May attacked Corbyn, saying the Russians had “already been given the chance to explain where the nerve agent had come from” and that the government had sought “consensus.” We don’t want consensus, we want reliable evidence, truth and proportionality in responses.  

Corbyn also said: “It is is moments such as these that Governments realise how vital strong diplomacy and political pressure are for our security and national interest.” He is absolutely right.

Aiming criticism at the ranting, diplomatic disaster that is Boris Johnson, who was, as ever, visibly outraged and angered by Corbyn’s comment, the opposition leader said: “I couldn’t understand a word of what the Foreign Secretary just said, Mr Speaker, but his behaviour demeans his office.”

One MP claimed, somewhat irrationally, that Corbyn’s cautious, rational and measured response is “appeasement”.

However, Corbyn is absolutely right to ensure the UK response is fair, based on sound evidence and follows international norms and protocols.

 



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14 thoughts on “Statement by Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation, Ambassador Alexander Shulgin, to the OPCW concerning the Salisbury attack

  1. Yes, my respect for Mr Corbyn increases with each day that passes. He behaved like a real statesman today, whereas Theresa May looked like she was deliberately using this horrific incident in order to boost her standing in the opinion polls. Her behaviour also seems to be in deliberate violation of international protocols.

    Anyway, on the strength of her performance, I don’t think I’ll be voting Tory anytime this century.

    I was interested to note publications like New Scientist quoting Russian chemist and whistleblower Vil Mirzayanov, who says that Novichok could easily be made by a fertiliser manufacturer. If that really is the case, then I reckon it could even have been made in this country rather than Shikany (Central Russia) or Uzbekistan.

    With regards to RussiaGate I also note that the the US House Intelligence Committee (after 18 months) still cannot find any evidence of collusion between Trump and the Kremlin.

    Who benefits from the poisoning? My nomination would be the United States, which is keen to attack Russia’s forces in Syria, and – opportunistically – Theresa May – who is quite happy to do some posturing in order to boost her standing in the opinion polls.

    I still don’t see that Russia gains anything by killing a spy that it has already jailed, pardoned and exchanged at a time when they are holding a presidential election and hosting the World Cup.

    Like

    1. It can be made from fertiliser and pesticides also as it’s core is organophosphates. Pesticides also act as nerve agents at high enough doses – see my last article, as I also explored this. Nerve agents are made by mixing 2 precursor compounds. Individually the compounds are safe to carry around, but when combined, produce the nerve agent. You do not need a lab to make nerve agents.

      If we don’t have any stock of novichok in the UK, and don’t know how to make it, how could we possibly know how to recognise it, and particularly, to recognise it had a Russian ‘signature’? This doesn’t hang together credibly on several levels.

      It’s as if the Tories really want a war. Or they’re just too stupid to understand the dangers in the use of such a provocative strategy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Also interesting to watch a Plaid Cymru MP asking Theresa May whether she was going to sanction the UK’s sale of depleted uranium to Russia. And at that point May looked down at the floor and didn’t answer the question.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is not about any direct ‘war’ mongering with Russia, but I suspect part of a build up to a wider war in the ME, where Israel, emboldened with its puppets in the White House, and reacting to the growing success of the BDS movement, intend military action for the purpose of extending their territory as part of their longstanding ‘greater Israel’ project. Where Russia is a key diplomatic and military obstacle.
    Following the ‘cui bono?’, considering the large propaganda element of the means of the attack, and their contempt for international law (and allied or neutral countries), the most likely culprits are indeed Israel imho. And Israel knows that the UK Tory Gov (or many of the remaining Blairites) will censor any possible lines of inquiry that lead in that direction.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The original V(x) is easily manufactured as it was in Uzbekistan but most scientists do not believe it was ever developed further and that Novichok(Newcomer) was just the Russian Dissident scientist’s way of securing his defection to the west with a little “cash for information” as the incentive. Have been on Moon of Alabam, OffG and Prof. Tim Haywards sites and honestly don’t believe that May has a sample that she can give to Russia without exposing the whole scam and implicating our own Porton Down CW facility.If May does send a sample to OSCW, then by Int’l Law they must also share their findings with or supply a sample to Russia. May has gone from weak and wobbly to thoroughly staggering about with this latest distraction.

    Liked by 2 people

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