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Novichok formula published in U.S. in 1998, says Russian defense ministry

Staff Writer |
The Novichok nerve gas formula was published in the United States as far back as 1998, a high-ranking Russian defense ministry official said.

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"As far back as 1998, we looked though a regular edition of the spectral database released by the U.S. National Bureau of Standards, which has spectral data on about 300,000 compounds and is regularly updated, to find an agent that caught our attention as it was an organophosphorate chemical.

"We understood that it must have a lethal effect. Now it has turned out that, judging by the name of that agent, it was Novichok A234. It has surfaced," Igor Rybalchenko, chief of the ministry’s chemical laboratory, said in an interview with the Voskresny Vecher news roundup on the Rossiya-1 television channel.

On March 4, former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury.

Police said they had been exposed to a nerve agent. Both are in the hospital in a critical condition.

Russia’s ambassador in London receives from the UK Foreign Office only poorly worded formal replies to the Russian side’s inquiries and notes on the Skripal case, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

"As of now, all the Russian ambassador in London has received are mere formal replies. More to it, poorly worded replies," she said in an interview with the Voskresny Vecher weekly news roundup on the Rossiya-1 television channel.

"The quality of work of the British side is simply surprising, with hasty actions and complete lack of in-house coordination," she noted.

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