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Chemical weapons agency: use of nerve agent is considered use of chemical weapons

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The poisoning of any individual with a toxic nerve agent is considered use of a banned chemical weapon, the global chemical weapons agency OPCW said on Thursday, in a statement about Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Germany has said Navalny was poisoned with a Soviet-era toxin called Novichok, a chemical that was specifically banned this year by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

“Any poisoning of an individual through the use of a nerve agent is considered a use of chemical weapons. Such an allegation is a matter of grave concern,” the OPCW said.

The chemical formula for Novichok was added to a list of “Schedule 1” chemicals at the OPCW in June, following its use in 2018 in the English city of Salisbury against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

The agency has 193 member countries and said it was ready to help any of them as required.

The OPCW, based in The Hague, Netherlands, oversees the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which prohibits the development, production, stockpiling, transfer and use of classified toxins.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Kevin Liffey