March 20, 2018
Novichok Stockpiling: Lethal Nerve Agent Used In Poisoning Ex-Spy Allegedly Stashed In Russia's Secret Labs

Russia is in the hot seat for allegedly stockpiling the lethal nerve agent Novichok and violating the agreement made between 192 countries during the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention.

The issue started with the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, in Salisbury on March 4. As reported by BBC, the UK government claims the substance used for the attack is the nerve agent Novichok. This nerve agent is reportedly "stockpiled" by Russia, adding that they are "culpable" for the attempted murder of their former agent.

Experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will arrive in the UK to test samples of the nerve agent used to attack the former Russian spy and his daughter. Results will be out in about two weeks.

Former Russian Spy Poisoned

Russians allegedly used Novichok, an agent developed in a secret Soviet lab, for the attack. As reported by Fox, members of the intelligence agency see the attack on Skripal as intentional, and it does not appear to be a warning for other ex-spies.
"It's seen here as an attempted murder and premeditated."
Officials in the UK believe that Skripal and his daughter were exposed to the nerve agent through the vent of his car. Before collapsing on a public bench, Skripal was spotted in a restaurant shouting and acting incoherently. This behavior is consistent with the effects of a nerve agent.

Russia denied involvement with the attack on its ex-spy, hinting that it is the United States and Britain who has been conducting illegal research on "new toxic substances."

What Is Novichok?

Novichok is a nerve agent developed by Russian scientists years ago. Soviet leaders spent a significant amount of funds for biological weapons during the Cold War. They had weaponized versions of smallpox, the plague, and anthrax. Novichok, the chemical toxin allegedly used to attack ex-spy Skripal, was supposedly developed during this period.

Russia, the country in possession of the most massive chemical weapons stockpile in the world, announced the complete destruction of more than 40,000 metric tons of declared agents. However, it's worth noting that Novichok is not part of the list.

Discovery of the existence of the nerve agent Novichok happened during the 90s. Since experts identified the nerve agent used to attack Skripal right away, he was able to receive the right medical treatment.

Det. Sgt. Nick Bailey, who was also involved in the attack, also received treatment for the lethal nerve agent.

Alleged Violation International Laws

During Vladimir Putin's campaign back in 2012, he pledged to develop weapons to give the country an edge over the United States. As reported by the Washington Post, Putin claimed it would be a powerful defense system.
"Such high-tech weapons systems will be comparable in effect to nuclear weapons."
After this promise, there has been much activity in the Defense Ministry laboratories, which made the United States suspicious of what was going on on those bases.
Raymond Zilinskas, a weapons expert from James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California, explains how Russia has been accusing the United States of orchestrating Zika virus and Ebola outbreaks in West Africa. This could have been a deliberate plan to "explain to their own people why they need to do this research."

In defense of Russia, Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, told RT that the allegation is "very carefully formulated."

"The UK's laboratory, Porton Down, refused to say that this nerve agent was made in Russia. The UK government put them under heavy pressure to say this nerve agent was made in Russia. They [Porton Down] said there was no evidence it was made in Russia."
Murray added that London labeled the weapon used in the attack as "a type developed by Russia." He also defended that the formula for the lethal nerve agent Novichok was published 12 years ago, and the book is available on Amazon.