Head Of Military Research Institute Fired Over Novichok Scandal

Andrej Babiš, Miloš Zeman, Novichok, Russian Influence

Prague, May 14 (CTK) – Defence Minister Karla Slechtova (ANO) today dismissed the director of the Military Research Institute (VVU), Bohuslav Safar, whom Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) criticised over his statements about the Novichok agent, the Defence Minister has said on its webpage.


The VVU will be temporarily headed by its deputy director Josef Hrncirik and a tender will be put up for the post of its director.


When Moscow said the Czech Republic may have been the originator of Novichok, Safar said poisonous substances were produced in the Czech Republic solely for laboratory purposes to test their properties and in a very small amount of some grammes only.


Safar said since only grammes were involved, this was no production, but “laboratory preparation of a small amount” for the testing of its qualities.


Novichok poison was used against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain in March.


President Milos Zeman has referred to Safar in connection with his own statement that Novichok really was produced in the Czech Republic. This was dismissed by other representatives of the Czech Republic.


Babis said Safar’s statement had been unfortunate.


“I thank Safar for his long-term work at the head of the VVU,” Slechtova said.