Czech parliamentary committee says no Novichok produced

A nerve agent such as Novichok was neither produced nor stored in the Czech Republic, according to conclusions reached by the lower house of parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

The conclusions were communicated by defense minister Karla Šlechtová after attending the committee session on Thursday. It was also attended by the head of the civil intelligence service and by the head of the authority for nuclear security, which is also responsible for oversight of chemical weapons.

Confusion about whether the Czech Republic has produced the type of nerve agent used in the attack on a British-based Russian double agent was sparked by Czech president Miloš Zeman. He said last week that a report by military intelligence suggested a small amount of the nerve agent had been produced for testing before being destroyed.

The prime minister and defence and foreign ministers have disagreed with Zeman’s interpretation of the report. Some of the arguments have centred on semantic interpretations of what ‘produced’ actually meant.