Salisbury attack chemical can be produced by any state, even the US, OPCW chief tells prank callers
A nerve agent used in the attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter can be produced by any country, including the US, Ahmet Uzumcu, OPCW head, told Russian pranksters, who called him posing as the Polish PM.
Uzumcu became a fresh target of the famous duo of Vovan and Lexus (Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexey Stolyarov), who previously pranked such international figures as US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and NATO chief, Jens Stoltenberg.
The comedians posted what they said was their prank call with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Director-General on YouTube on Monday. They posed as Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, to address the head of the international chemical arms watchdog on the claimed chemical attack in the UK and Syria.
Uzumcu took some time to address concerns of the caller, who he thought was the head of the Polish government, as the conversation lasted for more than 22 minutes. He told the pranksters that the mandate of his organization didn’t provide for establishing the place of origin of the substance, which the UK claims was employed against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on March 4.
However, the OPCW head pointed out that “according to our experts, it can be produced in any state.” This contradicts the British claims that Russia can be the only culprit due to the fact that A-234 or ‘Novichok’ was a Soviet-designed nerve agent.
“So it can be produced in any country?” the pranksters specified, with Uzumcu replying: “In theory – yes.” When asked if the US could’ve been the source of the Salisbury chemical, the OPCW head replied: “Absolutely.”
According to Uzumcu, A-234 can be produced “in any country where there would be some chemical expertise. The material, which is used –as I’m told by our experts – is accessible. That’s the problem we face with this toxic chemical.”
The prankers also had some questions to ask about the alleged poison gas used in the Damascus suburb of Douma on April 7. The unverified claims of a chemical attack were exploited by the US and its allies to justify a massive missile strike on Syria, which was carried out before the OPCW experts were able to arrive on-site for their investigation. Damascus and Moscow denied the accusations, with the Russian defense ministry providing proof that the whole attack in Douma was fabricated.
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Uzumcu said that Russia was cooperating with the OPCW experts, who have arrived in Damascus, saying that “they seem to be willing to support the team’s deployment.” He also commented on claims that the Russian forces in Syria could’ve cleared the site of the claimed attack of evidence in order to deflect blame from the Syrian authorities. “There are such speculations. We’ve heard this from a few countries and we can’t verify it,” the OPCW head stated.