Britain declares that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has officially confirmed London's conclusions about the case of Skripal: the tracks are allegedly leading to Russia. But what is actually contained in the report released by the OPCW may well be an indirect allegation against the British authorities themselves.
On Thursday, the OPCW partially released a report on the results of its investigation, which this international organization conducted in Salisbury from 19 March. The open part of the report (there is also a secret one) reports: The violins are poisoned with a nerve agent. But everyone knew about this and so on, and very few people disputed this. More importantly, the experts could not name the country of origin.
"The results of analyzes of biological samples and environmental samples made by selected OPCW laboratories confirm the UK's conclusions about the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury and which severely affected several people," the experts write. At the same time, the OPCW report indicates that the samples collected by them contain a toxic chemical of "high purity". This was a convenient reason for the Sky News television channel to conclude: experts allegedly identified this substance as "Novice".
In fact, the name of the substance and its formula in the OPCW have been established, but these data are contained in the secret part of the report, which is available only to members of the OPCW. Russia also received a full report of the OPCW, our permanent representative at the organization Alexander Shulgin confirmed. According to the statement of Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, Russia will refrain from evaluating the report until its detailed study.
It is impossible to unequivocally determine the country in which the substance was produced, said Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Georgy Kalamanov, who prior to December supervised the work in Russia on the destruction of stockpiles of chemical weapons. "There can not be any unique markers that can unequivocally point out the country that produced the substance used against the Violins," he told Interfax.
Nevertheless, the head of the British Foreign Ministry, Boris Johnson, has already called for the convening of two meetings at once: the UN Security Council and the OPCW Executive Committee. He added that at the meetings the Kremlin "must give answers" in the case of the Violins. The OPCW immediately responded to Johnson's request by scheduling a meeting on the morning of 18 April.
Johnson reiterated his claims that allegedly "only Russia has the means," the motive and the corresponding past, "in order to conduct an operation to poison the ex-gaerushnik and his daughter. On this basis, his department hastened to state that the conclusions of the OPCW confirm the position of the British: the substance was produced by "highli lycli" (that is, very likely) with "state participation".
Meanwhile, experts draw attention to the fact that such signs do not prove the "Russian trace". "The report says only that the OPCW has confirmed the UK's conclusions regarding the identification of the poisonous substance," says the expert on chemical weapons, the former UN inspector in Iraq, Anton Utkin. He stressed that the OPCW report "deals exclusively with the structure" of the poison.
Ilya Dukhovlinov, Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry, has carefully studied the public part of the report on the official website of the OPCW.
"The report is very general, formal. The information itself is presented very carefully and streamlined. There is no specifics. It is not clear that the samples were presented by an English laboratory. Methods of analysis are unclear. There are no correct protocols for analysis, there is no clear formula for what was received, "said Duhovlinov to the VZGLYAD newspaper. "From this material it is impossible to draw a conclusion about what specific substance is involved." The chemist stressed that it could be any organophosphorus compound, and added:
"And, given the fact that Britain was one of the world leaders in the development of combat phosphoroorganic substances, the origin of the samples submitted to the expert organization may be from Britain itself."
As the newspaper VZGLYAD wrote, back in late March, the head of the English military laboratory in Porton Down, Gary Aitkenhead actually confirmed that they are engaged in the development of warfare agents. Aitkenhead did not deny the availability of chemical weapons, including, apparently, the substance A234, also known as the "Rookie." For the presence of Britain, such samples were hinted at by Johnson himself in an interview with Deutsche Welle 19 in March.
Utkin also drew attention to this nuance: the British transferred to the OPCW a second toxin, saying that this is the "Novice". But where did he come from, they did not explain. In this regard, Utkin does not exclude that the sample submitted to the OPCW was manufactured by the British themselves. After all, the substance was found to be free of impurities, which indicates its laboratory origin.
"The longer the UK is silent about the origin of the substance, the more versions there are. If, as a result of an official British investigation, information was revealed that did not speak in favor of Russia, then London would gladly have used it. But since the UK does not say anything about the interim results of the investigation, (this) means that no compromising data was found in Russia, "Utkin said.
By the way, on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry representative Maria Zakharova expressed bewilderment by the fact that a month after the incident in Salisbury no one had ever presented either the British spy Sergei Skripal himself or his daughter Julia, who, according to the authorities, had already recovered .
Utkin is also surprised why Julia Skripal was not given the opportunity to talk with relatives or with the press.
"What's the problem for Julia Skripal to say something at the press conference?
What is the problem of simply telling about the testimony given to the police by Julia or her father? But this is nothing. And this may mean that the information of the British does not fit into the context of accusations against Russia, "said Utkin.
Probably some of the questions will be answered after the main part of the OPCW report is declassified. Perhaps it does not point to the country producing the poison, but at least it should accurately show which poison was used.