Foreign Ministry statement

As is known, on August 8, the US administration announced the imminent imposition of new sanctions against Russia on the basis of the US national law on Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination. Our country is accused of having used chemical weapons in connection with the so-called Skripal case, although no one has yet been able to provide any evidence of this, and the British side, despite our repeated requests, refuses to cooperate in the investigation of the March 4 Salisbury incident.

It follows from the notification received from the State Department on this matter that Washington is calling into question the complete elimination of Russia’s arsenal of chemical weapons. They prefer to ignore the fact that the Russian programme for the destruction of chemical weapons, completed last year, was implemented under strict international control in full compliance with the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

We consider the unsubstantiated allegations as to Russia’s involvement in what happened in Salisbury as another attempt to present our country as being irresponsible in fulfilling its international obligations. Such an approach looks especially hypocritical considering that the US itself is in no hurry to destroy its own chemical weapons and remains the only CWC signatory still having a significant stockpile of chemical warfare agents.

Washington’s actions pose a threat to the integrity of the CWC and damage the credibility of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, with which Russia cooperated closely during the implementation of the national programme for the elimination of chemical weapons. The United States has once again demonstrated a disdain for the international legal system and the desire to use existing multilateral arms control mechanisms to advance its own political agenda.

This is fresh evidence that the US is purposefully moving in the direction of an erosion of the international disarmament and non-proliferation architecture. Other eloquent examples of Washington’s destructive behaviour were its sudden unilateral refusal to join the legally binding 2001 protocol on strengthening the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention; an official refusal to ratify the international monitoring system in the CTBT context, while at the same time working to put it to use for its own interests; the blocking of work on the development of legally binding agreements on the prevention of the arms race in outer space; and the withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to resolve the Iranian nuclear programme issue, in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that approved the JCPOA.

Russia has repeatedly confirmed its respect for and careful compliance with its international obligations. Any attempt to cast doubt on this is unacceptable. We intend to continue systematic work to strengthen both the CWC and the OPCW, as well as the entire international legal system for arms control and non-proliferation, which took the international community significant efforts and several decades to build. We urge Washington to abandon its irresponsible line which would result in further erosion of this.