Babis Shocked By Zeman’s Statements On Novichok

Andrej Babis and Milos Zeman

Prague, May 4 (CTK) – Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) finds it surprising that Czech secret services differ in their statements on the presence of the Novichok nerve agent in the Czech Republic, and he wants them to give him more detailed information, he told reporters today.

 

On Thursday, President Milos Zeman said, referring to the Military Intelligence’s (VZ) information, that the A230 nerve paralysing agent, which he called Novichok, was produced in the Czech Republic last November.

 

The counter-intelligence service BIS, on its part, has concluded that A230 is not Novichok, since Novichok is the A234 nerve agent, Zeman said, referring to a BIS report provided for him.

 

Babis said Zeman’s statement is surprising mainly because the secret services differ in their assertions.

 

“We must ask them how they actually meant it,” Babis said.

 

He said Novichok consists of about ten substances, according to his information.

 

BIS spokesman Ladislav Sticha told CTK later today that being in a position different from the president’s, the BIS cannot openly say what its report contains, what organisations contributed to it and with what information.

 

“The numerous documents we gathered in order to complete the report for the president naturally contained a statement by the Military Intelligence Service,” Sticha said when asked by CTK about the BIS and the VZ’s differing information.

 

Asked whether Zeman had received a separate report from the VZ, Sticha said it is the Defence Ministry that should be asked the question.

 

So far unknown attackers used Novichok to poison former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in Britain in March. Britain accused Russia of the attack. Moscow rejected the accusation and said the poison might have come from other countries, including the Czech Republic.

 

The Czech Defence Ministry today announced that nerve paralysing substances have been synthetised in a microscopic amount in the Czech Republic within its chemical warfare research. It ruled out the possibility of the substance’s leak.