Press Release by the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the OPCW

Press Release by the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the OPCW on the inconsistencies in the draft report of the OPCW on the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2020


The draft OPCW report on the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2020 (which was also officially distributed among UN General Assembly members) pointed out that on 20 August 2020 at the request of Germany the Secretariat deployed a team to perform a technical assistance visit in relation to the alleged poisoning of a Russian citizen, which virtually happened within the same period of time when the Russian citizen felt unwell on a flight that departed from Tomsk.

During a recent meeting of the OPCW Policy-making organ, its Executive Council, we requested clarification from the Technical Secretariat. But it was the German Permanent Representative to the OPCW who responded by saying that the Technical Secretariat must have confused dates. She said that it was a technical mistake that the Germans had asked to correct. In fact, she said that the request for technical assistance was sent on 4 September 2020. Recently, the representative of the German Foreign Ministry R. Breul has reiterated that there had been a technical error during the preparation of the report.

Amid these statements by the German side, the Technical Secretariat has remained deeply silent.

We are not surprised by such behaviour of the Technical Secretariat, but we are alarmed because the alleged poisoning of A.Navalny was a trigger for Western countries to launch an anti-Russian campaign.

Unfortunately, we have to say that the Technical Secretariat has created and maintained a thick smokescreen around the alleged poisoning of the Russian blogger. In practice, this looks like on disinformation, as we saw last autumn. Here is a typical example.

On 9 September 2020, the representative of the German Ministry of Defence A. Kollatz publicly announced that Germany had submitted to the OPCW the results of the samples taken from A. Navalny. Due to numerous requests by journalists to our Permanent Mission for comments, we requested explanations from the Technical Secretariat. We were repeatedly assured, particularly on 9 and 11 September, that the Technical Secretariat had not received any test results or other information from the German side. In fact, this turned out to be wrong. On 14 September, there appeared a report on the official website of the German government that the Technical Secretariat had already taken biomedical samples from A.Navalny for analysis at the certified laboratories of the OPCW as part of its technical assistance to Berlin. In response to our legitimate confusion, we were told that the phrase we have repeatedly heard, «the Technical Secretariat has not received anything from the German side yet», did not mean that the Technical Secretariat itself had not taken samples. Both then and now, we consider such explanations by the Technical Secretariat to be blatantly cynical.

Our review of the recent past leads us to question the version voiced by our German colleagues about a deliberate mistake or some confusion made by the Technical Secretariat. The draft report on the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention prepared by the Technical Secretariat is a voluminous material with more than 70 pages, which was clearly not prepared by one person, and if one of the authors of this collective work had made a mistake, others would surely have noticed it. On top of that a document of such importance is issued with the permission of superior management. It is difficult to get rid of the impression that one does not fit with the other. The story smells bad.

Life itself drives us to be vigilant and seek the truth. Many people still remember the huge scandal that broke out at the OPCW when it became clear that the report of the special mission of this Organisation on the incident in the Syrian city of Douma back in April 2018 was rewritten in such a way as to let the "troika" of aggressors, namely the USA, Great Britain and France, which committed the unprovoked attack on the Syrian Arab Republic on the night of 14 April 2018, avoid responsibility. Despite an appeal by the public, prominent academics, including the first Director General J.Bustani, the Technical Secretariat has stubbornly refused any proposal for an inquiry. Instead, two former employees of the OPCW, who took the courage to speak out about the outrages taking place in the Organization, have been persecuted. We warned at the time that without addressing the falsification of the Douma report, we would not be able to work as before. One way or another, there would be new problems. What we are seeing today is another proof of that.

There is no doubt for us that the A.Navalny’s case is being exploited by a group of Western countries as a pretext for attacking Russia and stepping up pressure on our country. We will do everything in our power to make sure that the secrets of this shady story become known, and that the truth comes out. Then the role of the Technical Secretariat in this unseemly affair will also become clear.