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ACTING IN BAD FAITH: Russian Envoy says ‘OPCW experts deal poorly with evidence collected in Syria’

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Experts from the OPCW Mission in Syria in Syria grossly violate chain of custody procedures, the Russian envoy to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Aleksandr Shulgin, said.

“Of course the mission is doing a poor job: it does not go to the scenes of incidents, is satisfied with remote investigation, draws its conclusions mainly based on social media materials, as well as data provided by various biased NGOs and the opposition Syria,” Shulgin said in a statement.

He added that in his work, the mission team “grossly violates the established sequence of actions,” ensuring the preservation of physical evidence – the chain of custody. At the same time, according to Shulgin, the data provided by the Syrian government and the Russian military are “hardly considered”.

Addressing the situation in Idlib, the Russian Defense Ministry has repeatedly warned that several terrorist groups within the jihadist-controlled province were preparing regular provocations to accuse Syrian government forces of using chemical weapons against civilians.

Accusations against Russia

Shulgin commented that the denunciations by Moscow preparing a hacking attack against the OPCW were completely unfounded and provocative.

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“In our speech, we said that these statements were completely unfounded, we see this as a gross provocation aimed at pushing Russia into a corner in retaliation for its active stance in preventing the politicization of the Organization, deepening division and designating irrelevant functions for the technical secretariat,” he said in an interview with Russian media.

He also commented on accusations made against specific Russians allegedly involved in the cyber attack.

“This is a completely normal thing to do,” he said. “We gave explanations, in fact, in April of this year, technical experts came in. The purpose of the trip was to check the security of our embassy’s communication systems.”

On October 4, the United Kingdom claimed that the Russian Chief Military Intelligence Directorate was “almost certainly” responsible for a series of cyber attacks targeting political institutions, the media and corporations around the world.

On the same day, the Dutch Ministry of Defense claimed that its intelligence services had prevented a cyber attack against the OPAQ, based in The Hague, allegedly perpetrated by four Russian citizens holding diplomatic passports.

Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the OPCW, Peter Wilson said that London and its allies will work to update sanctions for the use of chemical weapons, cyberstalking and human rights abuses.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry refuted the allegations, saying the allegations were part of another propaganda act against Russia.

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