Sun story on new nerve gas is denied by Russian agency Defense official calls story 'irresponsible'

September 19, 1992|By Moscow Bureau

MOSCOW -- An official of the Russian Defense Ministry has denounced a report in The Sun on Wednesday in which a scientist formerly connected with the Soviet Union's chemical weapons development program said that Moscow had developed a powerful lethal binary nerve gas last year.

The scientist, Dr. Vil Mirzayanov, said the gas was 10 times as powerful as the equivalent in the U.S. and that it had been tested as recently as January, even as the Soviet government was publicly proclaiming its commitment to eliminating chemical weapons.

According to a dispatch from Russia's Itar-Tass news agency: "A top military official of the Russian Defense Ministry dismissed as 'irresponsible' the September 16 article in the American newspaper Baltimore Sun, which quoted Moscow sources as saying that Russia had developed a new type of nerve gas and even tested it in January this year.

"Russia strictly adheres to the provisions of the Geneva Convention and other international agreements on chemical weapons," the official, who asked to remain anonymous, told Itar-Tass.

"Moreover, the Russian side neither took any actions in violation of even draft agreements in this field, nor breached the bilateral agreements with the United States on war toxic agents."

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