OPCW Report on Technical Assistance Requested by the UK

“The word ‘Russia’ does not occur in today’s OPCW report. The OPCW Report says nothing whatsoever about the origin of the chemical which poisoned the Skripals and certainly does not link it in any way to Russia. The technical ability of Porton Down to identify a chemical has never been in doubt, and the only ‘finding of the United Kingdom’ the OPCW has confirmed is the identity of the chemical.”

Craig Murray — Former UK ambassador

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 12 April 2018 — The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) transmitted yesterday to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) the report of the OPCW’s mission to provide requested technical assistance in regard to the Salisbury incident on 4 March 2018. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

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The results of the analysis by the OPCW designated laboratories of environmental and biomedical samples collected by the OPCW team confirm the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury and severely injured three people.

The UK’s delegation to the OPCW requested that the Technical Secretariat share the report with all States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and to make the Executive Summary of the report publicly available.

The Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, thanked the four OPCW designated laboratories that supported the technical assistance request for their swift and thorough analysis.

Background

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland requested technical assistance from the OPCW Technical Secretariat, under subparagraph 38(e) of Article VIII of the Chemical Weapons Convention, in relation to an incident in Salisbury on 4 March 2018 involving a toxic chemical—allegedly a nerve agent—and the poisoning and hospitalisation of three individuals.

The OPCW team worked independently and is not involved in the national investigation by the UK authorities. No State Party was involved in the technical work carried out by the Technical Secretariat.

OPCW designated laboratories are a lynchpin of the Organisation’s verification regime and its capacity to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons. They must be able to perform off-site analysis of chemical samples collected by OPCW inspectors from chemical production facilities, storage depots and other installations, or from the site of an alleged use of chemical weapons. These laboratories offer the necessary assurance to our States Parties that chemical analyses needed to make determinations or to clarify issues occurring during OPCW deployments are carried out competently, impartially, and with unambiguous results.

As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and with its 192 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.

Over ninety-six per cent of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace.

NOTE BY THE TECHNICAL SECRETARIAT

SUMMARY OF THE REPORT ON ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT IN SUPPORT OF A REQUEST FOR TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE BY THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND

(TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE VISIT TAV/02/18)

1. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland requested technical
assistance from the OPCW Technical Secretariat (hereinafter “the Secretariat”) under
subparagraph 38(e) of Article VIII of the Chemical Weapons Convention in relation
to an incident in Salisbury on 4 March 2018 involving a toxic chemical—allegedly a
nerve agent—and the poisoning and hospitalisation of three individuals. The
Director-General decided to dispatch a team to the United Kingdom for a technical
assistance visit (TAV).

2. The TAV team deployed to the United Kingdom on 19 March for a pre-deployment
and from 21 March to 23 March for a full deployment.

3. The team received information on the medical conditions of the affected individuals,
Mr Sergej Skripal, Ms Yulia Skripal, and Mr Nicholas Bailey. This included
information on their acetylcholinesterase status since hospitalisation, as well as
information on the treatment regime.

4. The team was able to collect blood samples from the three affected individuals under
full chain of custody for delivery to the OPCW Laboratory and subsequent analysis
by OPCW designated laboratories, and conducted identification of the three
individuals against official photo-ID documents.

5. The team was able to conduct on-site sampling of environmental samples under full
chain of custody at sites identified as possible hot-spots of residual contamination.
Samples were returned to the OPCW Laboratory for subsequent analysis by OPCW
designated laboratories.

6. The team requested and received splits of samples taken by British authorities for
delivery to the OPCW Laboratory in Rijswijk, the Netherlands, and subsequent
analysis by OPCW designated laboratories. This was done for comparative purposes
and to verify the analysis of the United Kingdom.

7. The team was briefed on the identity of the toxic chemical identified by the United
Kingdom and was able to review analytical results and data from chemical analysis of
biomedical samples collected by the British authorities from the affected individuals,
as well as from environmental samples collected on site.

8. The results of analysis of biomedical samples conducted by OPCW designated
laboratories demonstrate the exposure of the three hospitalised individuals to this
toxic chemical.

9. The results of analysis of the environmental samples conducted by OPCW designated
laboratories demonstrate the presence of this toxic chemical in the samples.

10. The results of analysis by the OPCW designated laboratories of environmental and
biomedical samples collected by the OPCW team confirm the findings of the United
Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury and
severely injured three people.

11. The TAV team notes that the toxic chemical was of high purity. The latter is
concluded from the almost complete absence of impurities.

12. The name and structure of the identified toxic chemical are contained in the full
classified report of the Secretariat, available to States Parties.

OPCW confirms UK findings over substance used in Salisbury poisoning

REFERENCES

OPCW Issues Report on Technical Assistance Requested by the United Kingdom — OPCW

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OPCW Report on Technical Assistance Requested by the UK

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