The German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) has samples of the powerful nerve gas A-234, called the “Newbie” in the west, from at least the first half of the 1990s. Such information was published in the German press and became publicly available through a special joint investigation of the journalists of the weekly Die Zeit, the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, as well as the media companies WDR and NDR.
To develop an antidote
According to journalists, a Russian scientist in the early 1990s offered the German intelligence service a sample of a poison agent in exchange for giving him and his family members a residence permit in the FRG. However, the politicians of the newly united Germany decided not to receive the poison itself.
The fact is that in 1990 the FRG achieved the export of US-owned chemical weapons from the territory of the country and the German authorities feared that the storage of A-234 samples would cause the world community’s fears that Berlin was trying to develop its own chemical weapons.
Therefore, Helmut Kohl, who in those years was the Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, agreed that an analysis of the obtained from the Russian scientist would be carried out in the laboratory of Sweden. Later, German specialists received the formula A-234 from their Swedish colleagues.
After some time, on the orders of Helmut Kohl, the formula of the Russian poisonous substance was transferred to special services of other countries, including the intelligence services of the United Kingdom and the United States.
In addition, according to Deutsche Welle, in a number of NATO countries after that a certain amount of A-234 was produced for “development of an antidote”.
According to German journalists, a Russian who provided an agent of a poison agent to the German intelligence service “after that he drove to Germany and lived for some time under the protection of the Bundeswehr.” The German press has no information about its future fate.
The journalists sent a request to the BND and the German government about publications on the receipt of the formula A-234 by the scouts of Germany, but both agencies replied that they “are ready to discuss issues related to intelligence only in the relevant working committees of the Bundestag.”
In turn, the Swedish government responded to German media workers that it had no information about the country’s role in the events of the 1990s related to obtaining BND samples of A-234. The Swedish cabinet also said that its representatives “need time” to find out the fate of the type of poisonous substance that the Swedish side received from the German special services.
On the poisonous substances of the so-called “Rookie” series, the general public became known after the hospitalization of the former GRU officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter on March 4, 2018 in the English city of Salisbury. According to the British investigators, the Scripps were poisoned with this poison. In the involvement in the crime, the British authorities immediately accused the Russian Federation, but refused to provide evidence of the charges. The Russian side has repeatedly stated that it has nothing to do with the Salisbury incident.
Can not install the manufacturer
In early April, experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said they could not determine in which country the substance was created, which was poisoned by Skripal and his daughter. In turn, the veteran of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation Lev Korolkov said that the current publication in the German press once again shows the impossibility of accurately establishing the manufacturer of the poison with the help of which an attempt was made on the ex-employee of the GRU of Russia. According to the expert, the special services of the USA and Great Britain probably received A-234 samples earlier, and not only from German intelligence.
“After the collapse of the USSR, many specialists in the field of chemistry, including those who were involved in the production and development of chemical weapons, moved to the United States. And of course, they shared their knowledge with American and British specialists.
Then this weapon could be transferred by the special services of the United States and the United Kingdom to anyone. So I do not rule out that we will never be able to understand who produced the substance that the defector from Russia was trying to liquidate, “Korolkov said.
Not only the Russian side has samples or formula A-234, it was said before. In the middle of March, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, called the “most likely” sources of the origin of the poisonous substance Great Britain, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Sweden.
On March 26, Czech President Miloš Zeman instructed counterintelligence to check the version of the possible production of A-234 in the Czech state. Following the inspection, the head of state was forced to admit that this type of poison was produced and stored for some time on the territory of the republic, but was later destroyed. As Zeman said, Czech chemists created this substance for small-scale experimental purposes.
On April 18, 2018, the Russian Federation’s permanent representative to the OPCW, Alexander Shulgin, said that nerve agents of this type were created and patented in the US. As evidence, he cited the appeal of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to Russia on December 1, 2015.
The appeal contained a request “to verify the patentability of the invention, made by an American scientist Rubin.” It was about the creation of this inventor of a special bullet containing a poisonous substance such as A-234.
Former member of the UN Commission on Biological and Chemical Weapons in Iraq and Libya in 1998-2003, military expert Igor Nikulin noted in a conversation with RT that in Russia A-234 and similar substances have not been produced for a long time.
“In Soviet times they were made in Uzbekistan, and with the collapse of the Union the substance remained on Uzbek territory. Later, under the agreement with the leadership of this republic, the “Rookie” (A-234) was destroyed by American and British specialists. So, the representatives of Uzbekistan, the United States or the United Kingdom should be interested in the fate of the Soviet substance, “the expert believes.
Dealing with many unknowns
Veteran of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation Lev Korolkov believes that, in addition to being unable to determine the origin of the A-234, who were poisoned by the Violinists, there are a few mysterious moments in this crime that hamper the establishment of an objective picture of the crime.
“Neither he nor his daughter was seen after the ambulance had taken them away from the benches near the shopping center. Accordingly, we are also not familiar with the materials of the interrogation of these people, but they can give a lot of important information for the investigation, “Korolkov said.
He also found it strange that the investigators have not yet established a direct executor of the action to eliminate the Fiddles.
“And this despite the fact that the events occurred in a small European town, which is probably stuffed with video cameras. So, in theory, in order to find them, there should not be any problems. But nevertheless performers are not even established. This suggests that they, most likely, did not seek or do not want to search, “the expert concluded.
However, according to the leading researcher of the Center for British Studies, Elena Ananieva, despite the publication of Die Zeit and other inconsistencies in the case of the attempted attempt at the Skripal, Britain will not refuse accusations against Russia of involvement in the Salisbury incident.
“Earlier, the president of the Czech Republic stated that the” Newcomer “was produced in his country. And, as we see, the British side ignored this. The fact is that if you officially recognize that Moscow has nothing to do with trying to kill Skripal, it means the resignation of Foreign Minister Boris Johnson and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Theresa May, “Ananyeva said in an interview.
She recalled that after the recognition that the invasion of Iraq was due to erroneous data about the possession of weapons of mass destruction by Saddam Hussein, the former head of the British government, Tony Blair, resigned.
“Neither Mae, nor Johnson is clearly not going to resign, and therefore will be wriggled to the last,” Ananyeva said.
According to her, the provocation, connected with the accusation of Russia in the attempt on the former GRU officer, had far-reaching goals.
“Thus, May hoped to solve its internal political problems associated with a tough confrontation between the conservative and liberal parties, as well as with the heavy process of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union,” the expert stressed.
According to her, it was important for the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to show that after leaving the EU the country does not leave Europe, and the scandal surrounding the Salisbury incident and the subsequent imposition of sanctions against Russia was called upon to rally the European countries around London.
According to Ananieva, under the current UK government relations between this country and Russia are unlikely to return to the level that was before the scandal surrounding the attempt at the Fiddles.
“The British side does not want this, and God forbid that the relationship between us, at least not worsen,” – concluded Ananieva.