OPCW session: Canadian stand on Russia

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Novichok’s usage and cyber-attacks on the OPCW are striking the keynote

In her address to the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the course of its 89thsession, on October 9, 2018, Canada’s Ambassador to the Netherlands and Permanent Representative to the Organization, Sabine Nolke, expressed Canada’s concerns with revealing facts of the Russian involvement in the use of a Novichok agent in Salisbury and in cyber-attacks on the OPCW.

According to Canada’s statement made public on request of Sabine Nolke, OPCW Technical Assistance Visit to the United Kingdom verified the British information that “the Novichok-class chemical nerve agent used to attack Sergey and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury in March 2018, also killed Dawn Sturgess and injured Charles Rowley in Amesbury in June 2018.” These attacks allegedly implemented by the Russian military intelligence (former GRU) are seen as “an egregious violation of the longstanding norm against chemical weapons,” which signals Russia’s “complete disregard for the international rules-based order.” In this context, a recent exposure of the previous Russian cyber-attacks, including the one against the OPCW headquarters in The Hague traced and prevented by the Netherlands’ secret services, revealed Russian “efforts to undermine the independence and professionalism” of the organization, as stated by the Canadian Ambassador. Thus, Canada calls on Russia to “resume a constructive role in the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).”

Similar concerns about the above-mentioned Russian actions were raised by the European Union. In the EU statement delivered by Ambassador Heidemaria Gürer, Permanent Representative of Austria to the OPCW, Russia is urged to disclose its Novichok program to the OPCW, while the cyber-attacks on the Organization are condemned as undermining its integrity. At the same time as it appears in Sabine Nolke’s tweet, Canada, the Netherlands and the United States came out with a technical proposal to amend the CWC Annex on Chemicals, adding their Novichok nerve agent.

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