What to believe, and not believe, about Russia’s claims on the Sergei Skripal nerve agent poisoning

Alexander Yakovenko, Russia’s ambassador to London, laid out Moscow’s position on the Salisbury nerve agent attack on Thursday.

Needless to say, it is the diametric opposite of the British government’s account.

So what to believe? To help navigate the cacophony of claim and counter claim surrounding the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, we look at Mr Yakovenko’s key claims – and how they stand up to scrutiny.

Claim: ‘We never had Novichok’

This one is difficult to believe.

At least three former Soviet scientists have described working on the Foliant program – the codename given to the covert project to develop the Novichok family of nerve agents – in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1992, a…

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