Russian Foreign Minister: Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned with substance developed by NATO

According to the information of the research center in Switzerland, a benzilate-class toxin or “BZ” substance developed and used by the USA and the UK was allegedly used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov stated on Saturday at the meeting of the Council of Foreign and Defense Policy, RIA Novosti reports.

Lavrov explained that Russia received such information from the Swiss center of chemical-radiological analysis in the town of Spiez through confidential channels. “On March 27, specialists of this center completed the research of samples which were collected by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) at the scene in Salisbury,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov said that he is convinced that the scientists working in the laboratory in Spiez are professional and value their reputation. Lavrov then quoted the laboratory report sent to the OPCW.

"According to the results of the examination, the samples had traces of the toxic chemical BZ and its precursors related to chemical weapons of second category in accordance with the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. BZ is a nerve agent that temporarily incapacitates a person. A psychotoxic effect is achieved in thirty-sixty minutes after using the substance and lasts up to four days... The given formula was in operational service in the army of the USA, Great Britain and other NATO countries. Such chemical compounds were not developed in the USSR and Russia,” the Minister said, quoting the report.

According to Lavrov, Moscow asked the OPCW why the conclusions of the Spiez specialists were not included in their final report. "Surely, if the OPCW denies using the Spiez laboratory, then it would be interesting to hear these explanations,” the Foreign Minister of Russia said.

The OPCW had completed investigating the accident in the British city of Salisbury where former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with what appeared to be a Novichok nerve agent on March 5.

In response to the assassination attempt on Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the British Government expelled 23 Russian diplomats. NATO and EU countries and their partners supported the move. Nearly 30 countries expressed solidarity with the United Kingdom by expelling about 150 Russian diplomats. The accreditation of seven Russian representatives to NATO has also been terminated.

  Lavrov, Sergei Skripal, NATO, Novichok poison