Canada alarmed by Russia’s objection to banning Novichoks under Chemical Weapons Convention


April 11, 2019 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

This week, Russia broke international consensus and rejected the addition of Novichoks, a class of chemical weapons, to the list of chemicals banned by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). This follows a meeting on January 14, 2019 where the international community was of a clear, united view that these weapons must be banned. Canada is very alarmed by this Russian obstruction.

Novichoks were used in the attack against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, United Kingdom, in March 2018, and responsible for the death of Dawn Sturgess in Amesbury, United Kingdom, in July 2018.

In 1997, the world came together and agreed that chemical weapons must not only be banned but eliminated. That is what the OPCW seeks to accomplish. Its work is essential, and that is why Canada, the top donor after the US, announced last week $2 million in additional funding to the organization.

We, and our partners, will continue to support the work of the OPCW and hold Russia accountable for its reprehensible use of illegal chemical weapons.

Quick facts

  • In October 2018, Canada, the Netherlands and the United States submitted a joint technical change proposal to list two families of toxic chemicals, including the Novichoks, in the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), subjecting these substances to declaration and verification.
  • The OPCW is an independent, treaty-based body established in 1997 to implement the CWC. With over 190 states parties, the CWC is one of the world’s most widely subscribed treaties.
  • The OPCW is the only multilateral institution charged with eradicating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. To date, it has verified the elimination of 96% of the world’s declared chemical weapons.

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