US trains Estonian emergency services to deal with novichok attack

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American and Estonian flags. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

The U.S.A has provided training to Estonian emergency services in the event of a future novichok attack.

Novichok nerve agents were developed in secret by the Soviet Union and Russia has used the nerve agent against opposition leader Alexei Navalny and former double agent Sergei Skripal in recent years.

A statement from the U.S. Embassy in Estonia said this week virtual training was carried out to help national security policy-makers, first responders, and scientific leaders counter, respond to, and investigate assassinations involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

"Recent events in Europe have highlighted the real threat of government-sanctioned, targeted weapons of mass destruction attacks.  An effective national response to counter such heinous acts requires strong communication channels between technical experts, law enforcement, and policymakers," the statement said. 

Ministry of the Interior advisor Toomas Malva told newspaper Õhtulet the Rescue Board, the Environmental Board, the Health Board, the Agriculture and Food Board and others received the training. 

The U.S. Embassy's statement said: "We call on Russia to cease further use of chemical weapons and to fully declare and destroy its chemical weapons program in accordance with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention."

This is workshop is part of a series of initiatives the Department of State plans to hold across Europe. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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