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Home EJIL Analysis OPCW Confirms the Identity of the Chemical Agent in Salisbury Attack

OPCW Confirms the Identity of the Chemical Agent in Salisbury Attack

Published on April 13, 2018        Author: 
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The OPCW Technical Secretariat released yesterday the findings of its investigation into the Salisbury affair. The report confirms the UK account of the nerve agent, without however specifically naming it in the unclassified executive summary; it also states that the agent was of a high purity, implying its manufacture by a state, but without naming Russia as the source (much in the same way as the UK’s own chemical weapons lab). Here are the key bits:

8. The results of analysis of biomedical samples conducted by OPCW designated laboratories demonstrate the exposure of the three hospitalised individuals to this toxic chemical.
9. The results of analysis of the environmental samples conducted by OPCW designated laboratories demonstrate the presence of this toxic chemical in the samples.
10. The results of analysis by the OPCW designated laboratories of environmental and biomedical samples collected by the OPCW team confirm the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury and severely injured three people.
11. The TAV team notes that the toxic chemical was of high purity. The latter is concluded from the almost complete absence of impurities.
12. The name and structure of the identified toxic chemical are contained in the full classified report of the Secretariat, available to States Parties.

UPDATE: See also this letter from the UK National Security Advisor to the NATO Secretary-General, providing some previously classified intelligence about the Skripal poisoning.

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4 Responses

  1. Terry Washington

    So much for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s fantasy that the poisoning was the work or “rogue” Mafia groups(preseumably Russian)! The £64,000 question is where do we go from here?

  2. The technical name of the chemical is “Mr Putin Says Hello”

  3. Roy Van Handenhove

    Specialists say that novichok as well as other kinds of gas can be produced in no less than 10 countries, including the UK. In a professional objective context, with the data available today, I would not have expected a comment as the one made by Dan Joyner.

  4. Keith Burns

    We still don’t know who conducted the attack and probably never will.
    I am very suspicious as to how a high-grade persistent nerve agent, 8-10 times more lethal than VX did not kill the targets and that unprotected fire and ambulance crews were standing close by the bench and a police guard was posted next to the contaminated front door of their Salisbury home apparently completely unaffected. I used to lecture in Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare and showed films of US trials on nerve agents on animals (usually goats) and they were affected immediately from minute doses of VX, frothed and had violent seizures, were incontinent and died within a couple of minutes.