Russia’s Clandestine Chemical Weapons Programme and the GRU’s Unit 29155 – bellingcat (Novichok – still making it)

A year-long investigation by Bellingcat and its investigative partners The Insider and Der Spiegel, with contributing investigations from RFE/RL, has discovered evidence that Russia continued its Novichok development program long beyond the officially announced closure date. Data shows that military scientists, who were involved with the original chemical weapons program while it was still run by the Ministry of Defense, were dispersed into several research entities which continued collaborating among one another in a clandestine, distributed R&D program. While some of these institutes were integrated with the Ministry of Defense – but camouflaged their work as research into antidotes to organophosphate poisoning – other researchers moved to civilian research institutes but may have continued working, under cover of civilian research, on the continued program.

Our investigative team believes the St. Petersburg State Institute for Experimental Military Medicine of the Ministry of Defense (“GNII VM”), likely with the assistance of researchers from the Scientific Center Signal (“SC Signal”), has since 2010 taken the lead role in the continued R&D and weaponization of the Soviet-era Novichok program.

Source: Russia’s Clandestine Chemical Weapons Programme and the GRU’s Unit 29155 – bellingcat