The Russian envoy, Vassily Nebenzia, to United Nations Security Council on Thursday rejected allegations levelled by the United Kingdom that Moscow was behind a deadly nerve-agent attack in the English city of Salisbury on 4 March. He said that Russia “is not responsible” for the attack in Salisbury, stressing that the origin of the substance used in the incident has not been confirmed.
Today’s meeting, requested by Russia, took place amid expectations that the results of tests of samples collected from individuals exposed to a nerve agent in Salisbury will be known by early next week. The United Kingdom sent the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) samples of the nerve agent within days of the incident, which left Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, hospitalized.
After the incident, the UK wrote a letter to the UN Security Council, stating that it was “highly likely” that Russia was behind the incident using deadly nerve-agent Novichok. At the Security Council meeting requested by the UK on 14 March, Russia – a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) – firmly denied the allegations.
At the meeting, Nebenzia accused the UK of engaging in a “theatre of the absurd,” and wondered why Russia would want to wage such an attack, eight years after Skripal was granted amnesty, and before the Russian presidential elections and the 2018 World Cup soccer event.
Further, the Russian delegate said that Russia does not have a copyright on Novichok and that line of toxic substances has been developed in many countries, including the United States and the UK. “Yet people are demanding that the Russian Federation acknowledged its guilt,” he said.
Germany has come out in support of the UK. A spokesperson Ulrike Demmer has said that it fits into Russia’s Modus Operandi of military invasions and attacks on former spies.