“aide-memoire”; from the Russian Foreign Ministry re. the Skripals

This is the text of an “aide-memoire” on the Skripal case, ssued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, 21 March 2018 “to clarify the state of affairs” in the Skripal case. It’s a reasonable summary of things thus far, and helps us to understand the Russian perspective on

1. On 12 March 2018, Prime Minister of Great Britain Theresa May, addressing the House of Commons, said it was “highly likely” that the Russian Federation was responsible for the poisoning of former GRU colonel, double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal on 4 March 2018 in Salisbury, with a nerve agent identified according to British classification as A-234.

The United Kingdom has publicly raised a question about Russia’s “concealing” and “using” part of its chemical arsenal, thus alleging that Russia has “violated” its obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (CWC) – one of the most effective multilateral treaties in the disarmament and non-proliferation field, which was initiated, among others, by our country.

Thus, the United Kingdom has come out against Russia as well as against the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) itself and the tremendous work that has been done within this organization during the last two decades, including with participation of the United Kingdom.

Pursuant to the requirements of Article III of the CWC, the Russian Federation submitted a full and complete declaration of all its chemical weapons stockpiles. That data was thoroughly checked and verified by the inspection teams of the OPCW Technical Secretariat. The fact of the full elimination of Russia’s chemical arsenal has been officially confirmed by the authorized international institution – the OPCW.

2. On 12 March 2018, given the gravity of the accusations brought against our country, the Russian Embassy in London sent a note verbale to the Foreign Office of Great Britain requesting access to the investigation materials, including samples of the chemical agent that British investigators were referring to, so that it could be tested by our experts in the framework of joint investigation.

Thus, we proposed to act in accordance with paragraph 2 of Article IX of the CWC. It stipulates that States Parties to the Convention should first make every effort to clarify and resolve, through exchange of information and consultations among themselves, any matter which may cause doubt about compliance with the CWC. Under the provisions of that Article, Russia would be ready to respond to the United Kingdom’s request within 10 days.

Unfortunately, the British side rejected that option and, instead of following the existing norms of international law, chose to unscrupulously politicize the issue.

3. British Prime Minister Theresa May suggested that a special Security Council meeting to discuss the matter be held on 14 March 2018. Suspecting that London would play dirty, Russia insisted on making the Security Council’s meeting open.

It is incomprehensible what the British side was trying to achieve by bringing the issue to the UNSC. This matter by no means falls within the mandate of the UNSC. It is quite obvious that all discussions are pointless until the OPCW gives its assessment of the Salisbury incident (it is important to know whether a nerve agent was actually used; if it was, how the likely origin of the chemicals was determined; what, and on what basis, actions were taken with regard to the victims, etc.).

4. On 14 March 2018, British Prime Minister Theresa May, apparently having come to senses, finally sent a letter to Director-General of the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW Ahmet Üzümcü (circulated to all OPCW Executive Council Member States on 15 March 2018) inviting the OPCW Technical Secretariat “to independently verify the analysis” of the British investigation into the Salisbury incident.

As indicated in the press release by the British Foreign Office of 18 March 2018, following the letter by Ms Theresa May, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW invited experts of the OPCW Technical Secretariat to visit the United Kingdom to carry out an independent analysis of the findings of the British Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down in connection with the Salisbury incident. On 19 March 2018, OPCW experts arrived in the United Kingdom.

Russia expects the OPCW to make an official detailed account of developments around the ‘Skripal case’. We proceed from the understanding that the OPCW Technical Secretariat shall conduct a full-fledged independent investigation in accordance with all relevant provisions of the CWC.

5. Russia has more and more questions both in legal and practical terms. And we intend to seek answers through the OPCW.

Russia states that it has not used chemical weapons against Great Britain. We suppose that the attack on the Skripals with toxic chemicals shall be deemed a terrorist act. As Yulia Skripal, a Russian citizen, is among the victims to the incident, we propose cooperation with the British Side under Article IX of the CWC.

We would like to ascertain the following issues.

Where, how, and by whom were the samples collected from Sergei and Yulia Skripal? How was it all documented? Who can certify that the data is credible? Was the chain of custody up to all the OPCW requirements when evidence was collected?

Which methods (spectral analysis and others) were used by the British side to identify, within such a remarkably short period of time, the type of the substance used (“Novichok” according to the western classification)? As far as we know, to do that, they must have had a standard sample of such agent at their disposal.

And how do these hasty actions correlate with Scotland Yard’s official statements that “the investigation is highly likely to take weeks or even months” to arrive at conclusions?

What information and medical effects led to a hasty decision to administer antidotes to the aggrieved Skripals and the British policeman? Could that hastiness lead to grave complications and further deterioration of their health status?

Which antidotes exactly were administered? What tests had been conducted to make the decision to use these drugs?

How can the delayed action of the nerve agent be explained, given that it is a fast-acting substance by nature? The victims were allegedly poisoned in a pizzeria (in a car, at the airport, at home, according to other accounts). So what really happened? How come they were found in some unidentified time on a bench in the street?

We need an explanation why it is Russia who was accused on the ‘Skripal case’ without any grounds whatsoever, while works to develop the agent codenamed “Novichok” in the West had been carried out by the United Kingdom, the USA, Sweden and the Czech Republic. There are more than 200 open sources publications in the NATO countries, highlighting the results that those countries achieved in the development of new toxic agents of this type.

6. Even from purely humanitarian perspective London’s action appears simply barbaric. On 4 March 2018 (as British authorities themselves claim) a nerve agent attack against Russian citizen Yulia Skripal was committed in the territory of the United Kingdom.
Russian Federation has demanded exhaustive information on the course of investigation into the Salisbury incident involving a Russian citizen (the Russian Embassy in London sent the relevant note verbale on 12 March 2018).

The United Kingdom is breaching elementary rules of inter-State relations and is still denying, without any explanation, Russian officials’ consular access to Yulia Skripal envisaged by the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. For more than two weeks now, we have not been able to credibly ascertain what happened to our citizen and what condition she is actually in.

On 16 March, the Main Directorate for High-Priority Cases of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation initiated a criminal investigation into the attempted willful murder of Russian citizen Yulia Skripal committed by dangerous means in the territory of the United Kingdom.

The investigation will be conducted in accordance with the Russian legislation and the norms of international law. Highly qualified experts will contribute to the investigation.

The investigators stand ready to work together with the competent authorities of the United Kingdom. We expect a cooperative approach of the British side.

7. In the UN Security Council as well as in the OPCW and at other international fora, the Russian Federation has been a consistent and insistent proponent of thorough, comprehensive and professional investigation of all crimes involving toxic chemicals, and of bringing perpetrators to justice.

We are ready to engage in full-scale and open cooperation with the United Kingdom in order to address any concerns whether in bilateral format or within the OPCW and other international instruments, working within the purview of international law.
As a responsible member of the international community and a bona fide State Party to the CWC Russia will never speak the language of ultimatums or answer informal and word-of-mouth questions.

The Western countries’ action on the fabricated ‘Skripal case’ contravenes the norms of international law and the general practice of inter-State relations, as well as the common sense itself. Naturally, we run a detailed record of all that, and when time comes, those guilty will inevitably be brought to justice.

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James Scott
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James Scott

I was astonished by the video interview with Paul Barril described as a French security expert and wonder why this has not had more coverage. Does anyone know if Barril is authentic.
https://youtu.be/5H2ikdck8F4

Michael McNulty
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Michael McNulty

It’s strange how western conservatives are indignant over a man who, had he still been active, they would have dismissed as a communist spy. So they risk a war against Russia over one of Russia’s own old “reds”? YCNMIU. But somebody did.

mohandeer
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Reblogged this on Worldtruth.

MichaelK
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MichaelK

So the Russians attempt to kill a spy, Skripal and in the process have no choice, apparently, but to include his daughter in the ‘hit.’ She must come under ‘collateral damage’? Then on top of this the bumbling assassins leave huge trail of glowing, chemical breadcrumbs behind them for the British to find, analyse and link to Russia, almost immediately. Christ, remind me never to use Russian assassins! It’s almost like they were secretly working for the Tory Party! Then, having attacked Skripal, who, let’s remember is an ex-spy and clapped out, with almost no value. The Russians see 23… Read more »

grandstand
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grandstand

I would take Lavrov as Foreign Minister over Johnson any day. Lavrov’s English is impeccable and his diplomatic language, knowledge of international law, understanding of history, and logic leave Johnson for dead. Also compare their humour – Lavrov is subtle , Johnson is slapstick. To any thinking person, Russia is winning this propaganda war. It appears logical, consistent, sane, and phlegmatic. Britain appears – to use an Australianism – to be running around like a headless chook. The losers will ultimately be both the British Government and the corporate media. Every time one of these attempts to demonise Russia is… Read more »

leruscino
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Reblogged this on leruscino.

mog
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mog

The comparisons of Putin and Hitler rise to a crescendo.
Colin McKay has it right when says that the Western propaganda is best understood as a perfect inversion of the truth.
It was Boris Johnson’s forerunners who created Hitler to try and destroy Russia’s bid to become an rival to the Anglo-US empire. Putin is the man trying to stop our Nazis from once again raising Hell across the world.
https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/971728945816178689

avenir
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avenir

It’s also interesting with the Cambridge Anslytics story how it used to be the Russians interfering and using psyops to fix the US elections, the UK election (that was a fail) and Brexit. It now seems to be the Brits doing it, old etonians and Tories for the money. I remain sceptical of the claims of Cambridge Analytics I see very little difference in standard advertising and propaganda techniques to their activities. We know Facebook makes its money from targeting advertising and selling user data on. Its why many of us don’t post anything important or personal there. I am… Read more »

MichaelK
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MichaelK

The Russians are a bit slow in reacting events in Salisbury. I’m unclear as to whether they’ve begun legal proceedings or not, an application for a writ of habeas corpus, demanding access to the hospital where their citizen Yulia Skripal is being treated. Have the Russians been denied access to her or not? The Russians have to get up to speed here and be a bit more proactive instead of just reacting all the time.

alaffcreator
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Have the Russians been denied access to her or not?
That’s the point.
The UK is, in fact, holds her a “hostage”. The Russian side was NOT allowed to visit her (in violation of international norms, mentioned above in “Aide-memoire”).
It is STILL unknown for Russian side where she is, what’s wrong with her, what’s her condition etc. (the same about S.Skripal)
And now imagine what her relatives feel – uncertainty, anxiety, stress… Maybe her mother would like to come. But she doesn’t even know where to go & what’s going on with her daughter.

Jennifer Hor
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Jennifer Hor

Julia Skripal’s mother died from cancer in 2012 and is buried in the cemetery in Salisbury together with Julia’s brother who died in a car crash in St Petersburg and whose body was brought over to the UK. There was speculation in the media that the graves were exhumed by the police after the poisoning incident and the police did make a big deal erecting shelters over the graves and walking around them in hazmat suits.

Jonj
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Jonj

The only “official” communication from UK to Russia seems to say you are guilty and cannot prove yourself innocent…..so with nothing else unless Russian diplomats any who are left turn up at the hospital and demand to see their Russian citizen with an ambulance to take them back….what can they do……

avenir
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avenir

Boris and government are now exporting its diplomatic war against Russia to the EU. This seems to be an attempt to ruin diplomatic relations everywhere across Europe. Perhaps a wave of diplomatic expulsions. It will be more than likely to cripple EU embassies. Last time there were mass expulsions Russia retaliated by expelling the diplomats that ran the embassy but leaving the UK’s spies in place, signalling they knew who they were and leaving an embassy completely ineffective. Boris thinks this is a good idea but I hope they simply tell May and Boris to fuck off. At a press… Read more »

JJA
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JJA

Has this aide-memoire appeared in any of the main stream media in Britain? If not, why….. oh, I already know why not!

MichaelK
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MichaelK
Nottheonly1
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Nottheonly1

In good tradition of psychological projection, the West, in this specific case the UK, is accusing others of its own crimes and war crimes. Thus, when the psychological projection is inverted, it reveals that the UK is indeed a Regime and not a democracy. The revelations about < em>Cambridge Analytica reveal that the core tenets for a functioning democracy are not given. The manipulation of citizens/voters to manufacture consent for policies that would otherwise be strongly rejected, has transformed the UK and its Western ‘partners’ into hard core regimes. From this moment on, one might attempt to apply the same… Read more »

Big B
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Big B

Britain is most definitely headed by an anti-constitutional soft coup regime. The Tories did not win a mandate outright; exceeded the time it takes to form a government using deliberate delaying tactics (a fact made public by no lesser person than the Queen); the Queen should have turned to Jeremy Corbyn and asked him to form a government; and the government was eventually formed by a dubious bribed power-sharing agreement with the terrorist supporting DUP. Imagine if Vladimir Putin or Nicolas Maduro had formed a government under remotely similar circumstances?

notheonly1
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notheonly1

Indeed. When one takes a closer look at the modus operandi of the Western regimes, it becomes unmistakably clear that the repertoire does not only consist of Psychological Projection, which in itself is the clear sign of a clinical psychopathy, but also the notorious “Do as I say – not as I do.”, revealing a deep sitting delusion in regards to the treatment of ‘others’ in relationship to one’s own ego. Since we were all told that corporations are ‘people’, along with it must go the understanding that one cannot expect differing behavior by those who voluntarily, or out of… Read more »

MichaelK
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MichaelK

The Russians don’t ‘do’ political theatre, or propaganda, anywhere near as well as the British, who not only invented it, but are masters at manipulating language and employing rhetorical devices in their favour, second to none. The Russians have lot to learn and an awful lot of catching up to do. Huge swathes of the British education system, for the ruling elite, are based on learning how to employ language like a secret weapon in a war, both at home and abroad. The inherent subtlety and infinite nuance and flexibility of the English language gives the British a real advantage… Read more »

vexarb
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God forbid other nations should ever “catch up with the subtlety and flexibility of English” Ruling Class doublespeak.
“Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever”.
“A moderate house of cards, the greatest wit / Though he can start it, cannot finish it”. — Goethe, Faust

rogerglewis
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Guran
Reader
Guran

In the aide-memoire it is said: “…out by the United Kingdom, the USA, Sweden and the Czech Republic. There are more than 200 open sources publications in the NATO countries, highlighting the results that those countries achieved in the development of new toxic agents of this type.”
I see Sweden is among the countries mentioned, would be very interested to have the sources in a more explicit way than only “200 open sources”.

Jonj
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Jonj

At the presentation yesterday -which was amazing try and see it through even references to usa accusing Russia of MH17 before it hit the ground…usa not releasing information as it knows what happened-there was a public apology from Russia about including Sweden….good of them to do that.

Martin Hawes
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Martin Hawes

Another piece of the puzzle has just been brought to my attention: Several recent episodes of Strike Back: Retribution, a British-American action TV series that premiered on Sky One in the UK on 31 October 2017, have featured a Russian-developed nerve gas, ten times stronger than any other strain, called…you guessed it… Novichok. The word ‘normalisation’ comes to mind. Or perhaps the f#####s are just having another laugh at our expense.

Big B
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Big B

Apparently, that was in Episode 6. If you have Sky, and know what happens in Episodes7 and 8; could you please contact the FCO as they have run out of ideas as to where to go with this!

tutisicecream
Reader

In this Aid Memoir the Russian Government lays out exactly what needs to be done. Since day one of this affair the British Government [and I use this term pejoratively] have handled this situation in the most appalling manner. I am aware of all the different theories and the available reported facts surrounding this investigation and can only concur with the Russian analysis and claims. So what do we have? As often is the case when lies are being told – more questions than answers. What we do know is that no new information has emerged since the start of… Read more »

Big B
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Big B

Indeed, this is in part a distraction; a mother grouse with a feigned broken wing, drawing attention away from her nest egg – Brexit. I have also noted how the Cambridge Analytica story has re-surfaced in the news and spin cycle. This particular story has nothing new, that has not been known since November 2015, but it periodically becomes newsworthy as a distractionary measure, IMO. As for Brexit, the fact they want to prevent becoming public is that there will be no Brexit. UK Column watchers will be acutely aware of the detail, but the coup government do not want… Read more »

niqnaq
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niqnaq

I can’t help thinking that Israel Shamir is engaged in a damage limitation exercise on behalf of the Western propagandists, because while exonerating Russia from blame for the actual attack, his story blames Russia for the idea..