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Senators want gov’t to reject words on Czech origin of Novichok

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Prague, March 19 (CTK) – The ANO minority government should reject the speculative allegation by Russian diplomacy that the Novichok lethal poison may come from the Czech Republic, a group of 27 Czech senators, including the upper house head Milan Stech, said in a joint declaration on Monday.

They said the Russian Foreign Ministry’s allegation amounts to an unfounded accusation without any evidence to prove it.

Before, sharp protests against the allegation were expressed by the Czech Foreign and Defence Ministers, Martin Stropnicky and Karla Slechtova.

“We resolutely reject the Russian Foreign Ministry’s accusation concerning the origin of the Novichok chemical agent by which [former Russian secret agent] Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in the English town of Salisbury,” the senators wrote.

“An unfounded and unproved accusation of the Czech Republic and other states means manipulation of the public opinion and contributes to burdening relations with the Russian Federation. We are calling on the [Czech] government to take a clear and rejecting stance on the issue,” wrote the senators, mainly representatives of the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), the Mayors and Independents (STAN) and the Social Democrats (CSSD), and also including Jiri Oberfalzer (Civic Democrat (ODS), Vaclav Laska (for the Greens) and Alena Dernerova (United Democrats-Independents’ Association).

Their declaration reacts to the allegation by Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, that the most probable countries from where the Novichok substances come are the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Britain or Sweden. The substance might also have come from the USA, Zakharova said.

All the mentioned countries have dismissed the allegation.

EU foreign ministers called on Russia in a declaration on Monday to take a serious approach to the conclusions made by the British government, which said Russia is responsible for the nerve gas attack. The Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitri Peskov said Britain should either prove its assertion or apologise to Russia.

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