Nine to fourteen vials of the poisonous substance Novichok disappeared from the Russian Institute during the 1990s, an analogue of which, according to the United Kingdom, was used to poison former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal. According to the Russian news outlet the Republic, the investigative evidence of the Russian General Prosecutor's Office and the FSB indicate the involvement of scientist Leonid Rink in the poison’s disappearance.
Rink worked as head of the laboratory at the State Research Institute of Chemistry and Technology of Organoelement Compounds in the city of Shkihany in Saratov oblast. He then worked at the State Institute of Organic Synthesis Technology (GITOS), which in 2005 became a branch of the State Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology in Shikhany.
The last of these institutions played a role in the creation of Novichok, according to the information provided by the substance’s co-developer, chemist Vil Mirzayanov.
The Republic writes that the investigation’s materials refer to the sale of nine to fourteen vials - that is, 2.25-3.27 grams of the Novichok - to scientists. Simultaneously, eight to nine vials were obtained by unknown individuals from Chechnya.
The publication emphasizes that enough poison was stolen to poison more than four thousand people.
Czech President Miloš Zeman earlier appointed Michal Koudelka, head of the Security and Information Service (SBI), to verify a theory about the possible production of a group of Novichok nerve agents in the country.