7. 5. 201820:11

No substance of the Novichok type has ever been produced, developed or stored in the Czech Republic

On Monday, 7 May 2018, a meeting was held at the Office of the Government between Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Security Information Service Director Michal Koudelka and Military Intelligence Director Jan Beroun.

That meeting resulted in the following statement:

No substance of the Novichok type has ever been produced, developed or stored in the Czech Republic. That was stated in the reports of both intelligence services. In 2017, a programme on protecting armed forces and civilians and detecting weapons of mass destruction was launched in the Czech Republic. As part of this programme, a substance of the Novichok A-230 type was to be tested.

In the first phase, a microsynthesis of the Novichok A-230 substance was carried out. During the microsynthesis, the substance was not isolated and such procedure is not, according to the methodology of the State Office for Nuclear Safety, considered as production or development process. The resulting product was immediately destroyed. The second phase of the programme has never begun. The substance of Novichok A-230 type differs from the A-234 substance that was used in poisoning Sergei Skripal in the UK. The two substances are entirely different and have a clearly different chemical structure.

The President's statement most probably reflected a different understanding of "production" and "testing". The President is correct in that Act No 19 of 1997 labels any chemical reaction as production process while according to the Military Research Institute microsynthesis is not a production. The Military Research Institute itself used the term "production" and "testing" in the media differently (interview with the Institute's Director on Czech Television on 17 March 2018) and that has caused the misunderstanding.