- OPCW Corrects Its Own Chief’s Bizarre Claim that ‘50-100 Grams of Novichok’ Were Used on Skripals
The world’s chemical weapons watchdog has been forced to amend a sensational allegation by its own director-general, that “a quarter cup to a half cup of Novichok” – enough to kill thousands – was released to poison the Skripals.
In an interview with the New York Times, published on Thursday, Ahmet Uzumcu, who has led the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) since 2009, said that 50-100 grams of the Soviet-developed nerve agent were used in the March 4 Salisbury incident involving the former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
The discussion of the exact quantity is not academic. According to the newspaper, the amount was “significantly larger than the amount that would be created in a laboratory for research purposes, meaning that it was almost certainly created for use as a weapon,” and tallied with UK “evidence” that Russia has been “stockpiling” Novichok.
Uzumcu’s claim immediately raised questions from chemists and diplomats alike. “According to expert estimations, 50-100g of a toxic agent such as the one Great Britain has been referring to would be enough to poison not just two people but everyone in the surrounding neighborhood. However, the two people in question managed to survive and recover, the British authorities say,” said Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova.