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No country except Russia could bring Novichok to condition of chemical weapons

Author : News Agency 112.ua

Respondent : Vil Mirzayanov

Vil Mirzayanov, specialist in the field of chemical weapons, professor who took part in the development of the Novichok nerve agent expresses his view on accidents with poisoning in the UK
20:29, 16 July 2018

Read original article at 112.ua

112 Agency

Journalist: What do you think, whose position on poisoning by the Novichok is closer to the truth: the British special services that accuse the Kremlin, or Russian, who say that the Novichok could be used not only by those who developed it? Could the Kremlin sell it?

Vil Mirzayanov: I think this is excluded. Novichok substances were synthesized and developed for 17 years. 17 years were required for an extensive study of all the properties of this series of substances. No country in the world had such opportunities and did not know about this secret. Moreover, these substances are not included in the list of prohibited substances of the conventions. Therefore, I have no doubt that the poisonous substance A-234, with which Skrypals and the second pair were attacked, is exactly the Novichok, developed in Russia. Some terrorists, who could supposedly buy or steal it somewhere, are the part of the fairy tale.

- How would you comment on the statement made by Czech President Miloš Zeman that Czechoslovakia also produced and stored this nerve gas?

- I have not heard about storage. I heard about they also synthesized. What does it mean to synthesize? A few grams were received. In order to bring Novichok to the level of armament of the Soviet Army, it took us 17 years, this is a billion rubles by that standards. We did not work with grams, two factories for the production of Novichok worked. This is the fruit of enormous labor; thousands of people have been engaged in this field.

- In 1995, businessman Kivelidi was poisoned, poisoned also by Novichok, and they found out about it by accident, because the phone was taken by the secretary. Could someone take this gas out of the laboratory or from the special premise?

- In 1995, no one wrote or said that Kivelidi was poisoned by the Novichok, they wrote that he was poisoned with another substance ... Only after Salisbury people started to speak about it ... Rink (Doctor of Chemistry - Leonid Rink, ed.) said that he, you see, was selling Novichok. It's a fairy tale, it's clear that he worked with the KGB, without the consent of the KGB, he could not bear anything, and he did not synthesize and take out Novichok, but quite different drugs. He's lying.

- How would you comment on the fact that after the Skrypals two other people were poisoned and allegedly the law enforcement agencies of Britain say that this substance could be on a syringe that two people found, or on a cigarette butt? It turns out that the law enforcement agencies have failed the investigation or is this a new case of poisoning, and some of the Russian special services threw or left inadvertently poisoned objects?

- No one threw anything away. If you believe in this tale, in 4 months there would be nothing left. I, as a person who studied the physicochemical properties of these substances, could say that they decompose very quickly in a moist environment, especially underwater or rain, and there are no traces left.

- How much does it cost to poison two people?

- Theoretically, two milligrams is enough to kill a person. But when there is usage in the form of weapons, the expenditure should be greater. Apparently, we are talking about grams. Using the solution in its pure form is impossible, it is necessary to dissolve or reduce it with some water repellent composition. Then it is necessary to mix so that there is a high concentration. Then it should be about grams. If it is a terrorist attack, at least 10 grams is needed.

How much does it cost? I think that in Russia it is cheap. Now, of course, it is difficult to say how much it costs. I would say, if it was in the West, it's tens of thousands of dollars.

- Are the stocks of the Novichok big?

- Novichok substances were produced at two factories of the USSR. Not kilograms were produced, but tons of it. According to my calculations, 16-20 tons. They were produced for medium-range missiles. According to the latest information, which reached me, they stored them. Where they then disappeared, I cannot say, but I do not think they were destroyed, because they were not subject to destruction. Over time, the content of substances there is no bigger than 80-90%, perhaps 20-30%. However, if there is a desire, they can be brought to the standard, up to 90-100% again.

- In the West, they say that the Skrypals were poisoned by the Russian Federation. In Russia, they say that the British found somewhere Novichok and poisoned Skrypals to increase hatred for Russia. Tell me, who poisoned them?

- I am absolutely sure that the country - the producer of this weapon, that is, the Russian Federation, is behind this terrorist act. Nobody else. What the British synthesized using formulas from my book, in order to study the spectrum, protection against them, it takes a bit of gram. But to bring it to weapons, you need kilograms. It is necessary to conduct a lot of research, develop security measures for personnel who will work, then make an armament - this is a very slow process. With harmless substances, you can work at a normal pace, and with harmful substances - dozens of times slower, because you need to protect the staff.

- Was the Novichok substance synthesized in Britain?

- Yes, of course. Without this, they could not decipher it. I can assume that they synthesized it recently if they were guided by formulas from my book, which was published in 2009.

- That is, the formula is in the public domain, and in theory, having the appropriate equipment, level of knowledge and resources, anyone can synthesize it today?

- No, only people in those institutions, with experience in working with poisonous substances. Anyone, even a good chemist, he, rather, will poison himself. Because without this school it is impossible to conduct any work with poisonous substances.

I published the book because I was desperate because the Novichok was not included in the list of banned substances of the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Moreover, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, after the publication of my book, when the issue was raised in The Hague, sent a directive so that my book was ignored. And the delegate of England agreed with this. It's good that there were chemists from Iran who synthesized and removed the spectra. Not everyone agreed with the US, which explained that on the basis of these formulas terrorists can create weapons as if they are gourmets that are not satisfied with the formulas of other substances which production technology is in open access. In order to synthesize a large amount of a substance, technology is needed, and I did not disclose these secrets in the book.

- Why did the Skrypals survive after poisoning with the Novichok?

- Apparently, they did not receive a lethal dose.

- You say that 16-20 tons of Novichok remained in Russia. Does it have a shelf life?

- We need to analyze what concentration of the active substance is there because eventually there will be an admixture, in due course the substance for one reason or another decomposes, moisture penetrates. If now there remains only 20% of the substance, you can bring this substance to the condition, up to 90%. This is not a very complicated operation.

Related: Counter-terror police investigates Wiltshire Novichok poisoning

Related: OPCW Head: 50-100 grams of Novichok were used to poison Skripals

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