Defence Ministry says tiny amount of deadly nerve agent produced for testing detection and defence

Nerve agents such as the poison Novichok are synthesized in the Czech Republic as part of anti-chemical defence program, the Czech Defence Ministry said in a statement issued on Friday. The maximum amount produced is several micrograms and the substance is destroyed immediately after testing, the ministry added.

The ministry also said that while substances such as Novichok were potentially poisonous chemicals, they were used for testing detection and defence capabilities and the training of the country’s anti-chemical unit. Such substances, it stressed, were synthesized under the strictest controls and security. It called the chance of extraction from special labs “zero”.

It is thought that between 50 to 100 grams of Novichok was used against the Skripals in the attack in Salisbury.