© AP Photo/Matt Dunham

MOSCOW, August 22. /TASS/. The Western countries are known to have made at least a hundred chemical agents similar to the Novichok nerve gas since the mid-1990s, as follows from a report published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.

The Foreign Ministry recalled that on January 13, 1993 Moscow was one of the first to have put its signature to the Chemical Weapons Convention and promptly began its implementation.

“The elimination of Russia’s chemical weapons was carried out under the strictest international control. This laborious process was completed on September 27, 2017,” the Foreign Ministry said. “On October 11, 2017 the director-general of the OPCW’s Secretariat certified the final elimination of chemical weapons in Russia.”

“As far as the compound that has been dubbed Novichok in the Western countries is concerned, its structure was for the first time presented in 1998 in the data base of the American National Standards Institute. The whole family of toxic chemicals that eventually emerged on its basis does not fall under the CWC operation,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “Some twenty Western countries have conducted research into the substances of the Novichok family since the mid-1990s. They studied means of obtaining them and their harmful effects. Foreign scientific publications contain formulas of no less than a hundred compounds that have a bearing on Novichok agents to this or that extent. The United States alone has issued more than 140 patents somehow related to the protection from and the use of warfare agents of the Novichok family.”

The Foreign Ministry pointed out it is rather hard to name the country where the type of agent identified in Salisbury had come from, bearing in mind the fact the methods of obtaining Novichok family compounds were widely spread in the West.

“In May 2018, Russia dispatched to the OPCW Secretariat its proposals for complementing the lists of chemical agents under control with about a thousand new compounds,” the Foreign Ministry said. “We are certain that such a step would help promote non-proliferation and elimination of chemical weapons.

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