The Council imposed sanctions on nine persons and one entity under the new regime of restrictive measures against the use and proliferation of chemical weapons created on 15 October 2018.
These designations include the two GRU officials, and the Head and Deputy Head of the GRU (also known as the G.U., or the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces) responsible for possession, transport and use in Salisbury (UK) of a toxic nerve agent on the weekend of 4 March 2018. Sanctions are also imposed on the Syrian entity responsible for the development and production of chemical weapons, the Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC), as well as five Syrian officials directly involved in the SSRC’s activities. These persons and entity are the first one being listed under the new chemical weapons sanctions regime. The SSRC was already listed under the Syria sanctions regime.
Sanctions consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed. This decision contributes to the EU’s efforts to counter the proliferation and use of chemical weapons which poses a serious threat to international security.
The legal acts, including the names of the persons concerned, are available in the EU Official Journal.
The substance used on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia was an agent called BZ, according to Swiss Spiez lab, the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said. The agent has been never produced in Russia, but has been in disposal of the US, UK, and other NATO states.
Skripals were poisoned with an incapacitating toxin known as 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate or BZ, Lavrov said, citing the results of the examination conducted by a Swiss chemical lab, which examined the samples London delivered to the Organisation for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The Swiss center conveyed the results to the OPCW. However, the UN watchdog on chemical weapons limited its report to confirming the formula of the substance in its final report omitting the other facts indicated in the Swiss document, Lavrov continued. Further the Minister ensured that Moscow would request the OPCW to explain its decision to omit significant information provided by the Swiss report.
Lavrov revealed that the Swiss center that assessed the samples is the Spiez Laboratory. This facility is a Swiss state research center controlled by the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection and, ultimately, by the country’s defense minister. The lab is also an internationally recognized center of excellence in the field of the nuclear, biological, and chemical protection and is one of the five centers permanently authorized by the OPCW.